Digitalization in Education

Persons in Charge: Priscila Berger / Jens Wolling

Project Period: 2014 up to now


In 1983, the Grünwald Declaration on Media Education pointed out to an existing gap between what educational systems offer and what children and youth experience in terms of media and communication in real life. Since then, information and communication technologies (ICT) made their way into most schools and universities. However, the place that media, especially digital media, should take in formal education is not fully established. This investigation area aims to explore what are the roles that digital media play in educational institutions, especially concerning its implications for the teaching practice.


Digitalization of Thuringian Schools

The project funded by the Thuringian Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport [Thüringer Ministerium für Bildung, Jugend und Sport] will accompany 20 schools in Thuringia in their digitalization processes from September 2020 until March 2024. These schools were selected as digital pilot schools in 2019 in the realm of the initiative Thuringian Schools Digital Strategy[1]. For five years, these pilot schools will receive funds to invest in digital infrastructure and implement innovations with digital media. Then, their experience should serve as a reference for further schools in Thuringia to undergo digitalization. Therefore, the research project supports the documentation and evaluation of these schools' digitalization efforts by developing instruments of data collection, collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and producing research reports.



Media literacy in Thuringian schools

A project funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport [Thüringer Ministerium für Bildung, Jugend und Sport] investigated how media education is developed in secondary schools in the state of Thuringia, Germany. Through in-depth interviews with school principals and teachers, a quantitative survey with teachers, and case studies with three best-practice schools, it was found that the absolute majority of educators are convinced about the importance of media education, however, their practice varies considerably. Part of the variance in teachers’ practice of fostering media literacy is related to how important teachers consider that students learn about media literacy, how often teachers adopt ICT for instruction, and whether teachers receive media-related training. Moreover, differences have been found concerning the school subject that teachers are responsible for and the type of school where they work.

An international perspective: Relevance of teachers as media educators

The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), is the largest media literacy study at the international level. Besides testing the computer and information literacy level of8th grade students, the ICILS also collects data about the students’ background, schools, and teachers in several countries. The richness of the study allows that, beyond the questions addressed by the ICILS report, further questions are answered with secondary analyses of the data. With the data of the first edition of the study (2013), a three-level multilevel analysis was conducted to investigate what aspects of students, schools and countries characterize students who rely more on teachers to develop computer and information literacy. Results show that the access to technology is a significant factor at the student as well as at the country levels – students who have less access to information and communication technologies (ICT) at home as well as live in countries that have a lower score in the ICT Development Index tend to rely more on teachers to develop computer and information competence.

University instructors’ attitudes to students’ media use in class

The first EMPK’s study on the topic explored the implications of digital media to the teaching practice. It consists of a survey with university instructors about their attitudes toward students’ media use in class. University instructors from 11 countries reported their opinions about students using media during lessons, how this students’ behavior made they feel, and what actions they employed in relation to students’ media use in class. In the sample (n=146), four attitude patterns were identified in terms of implicit and behavioral aspects: critical-oppressor, aware-active, aware-passive, and enthusiast-welcoming.