Debacle “School Digitization”: If schools were hotels…

Debacle "School Digitization": If schools were hotels…

Billions of investments and nothing goes ahead-for years. What if schools were hotels? Wouldn’t they have been digitized for a long time? […]

Digitization in schools-you can almost no longer hear it and do not believe that this project is still not done. Five billion funding is available and yet not much is happening. Why is that? What’s the problem? You might think it’s about augmented reality and nano-bots when talking about digitization in schools. This is about profane IT, which has been around for more than ten years.

Let’s imagine a vacant school being taken over by a hotel. This hotel would go to a local IT service provider and order the following:

  • “We need complete IT equipment in three months.“
  • “We need a fiber connection, it can also be a normal telephone connection or cable connection or we combine both to get the necessary bandwidth.“
  • “We need a media server, Wi-Fi and TV in every room.“
  • “We need large media walls in some conference rooms. And, of course, software to control the whole thing.“

Within a maximum of three months would be delivered according to this requirement. And that’s not possible at a school? One would almost advise schools to just pretend to be a hotel. After three months, the parents put the hotel beds out and the school desks back in on their own – and the school would be digitized. What’s the problem? Money is available. The school must submit applications: ten to 15 pages with justification and the objectives of media work. Where does the respective school stand today? Where are you going? Who is to be trained? Nothing really complicated. And here even the rectors could do what their students are not allowed to do – write off other rectors.

Let’s imagine the hotel again. The receptionist of the hotel would have to familiarize themselves with the software as part of digitization. What would happen if this person, perhaps an English teacher before, said: “This is all too complicated for me? I don’t want that.”Then the hotel manager would probably say to the person: “Then you have to file a bill in the back room or we can no longer put it.”Is digitisation in schools an optional subject for teachers?

Where does it hang? Not on technology and not on money. The digitization of schools is a huge change project, starting from the federal government, through the federal states, down to the last teacher. This change project is absolutely necessary for our children. It’s not so much about children of academics, but about children who really need an education on digital media. Otherwise they will be unemployed in a future labour market that requires this knowledge as a prerequisite. Today’s leaders have long since retired.

If a digitization project in a large corporation were to run so slowly, a social plan would be put in place and all employees over 55 would be given an opportunity to leave the company. It is usually expected that resistance will dwindle and new ideas will come to the company with new employees. It is not necessary and not possible to resort to these practices in the case of schools. But infinite tolerance cannot be the solution.

Usually at this point comes the call for external consultants. But just as consultants in companies cannot carry out the internal change, but can describe it as a necessity, this will not work for schools either. Those responsible should be measured by implementation. There should be a hands-free and simple award of contracts to local service providers. To the same service providers who carry out such orders for companies and have all the necessary competence for this. The contracts should have success components or / and penalties for non-performance. In other words, the pressure on those responsible should be massively increased.

Most importantly, all leaders – including teachers-understand that their core mission is to know and teach the new technologies. There should be every support along the way, but ultimately there must also be consequences if those who matter refuse to implement what is necessary.

If Corona has really put its finger in the wound again, the crisis may even have something positive. But there is also something sad about it. Because if we had already done the digitization, home schooling would have been” business as usual”.

* Raimund Schlotmann is an electrical engineer and began his career in the engineering and software sector at Siemens AG. Since then, he has been working in corporate development as managing director, digitization expert and speaker. He looks at trends, concepts and solutions such as digitization, cloud computing, SaaS, Industry 4.0 or IoT not only technically, but especially from the point of view of the business model, the potential impact and the necessary procedure. Raimund Schlotmann is the author of the book”Digitalisierung auf mittelständisch”.

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