IU study shows there are still many hurdles to digitisation in schools.

•   Broadband internet is not available everywhere in many schools.
•   Two-thirds of the school management see the inadequate equipment for students with digital devices as the biggest hurdle to digitisation.
•   After all: 41.5 percent of the schools are already working with funds from Germany’s “Digital Pact”.

Erfurt, Germany 19. July 2022. Despite the call for more digital teaching - as in the current education report - and intensive support from Germany’s “Digital Pact”, digital teaching is not yet taking place across the board in German schools. This is shown by the current study "How digital are our schools?" by the IU International University (IU), in which school staff and parents of students were surveyed throughout Germany.

Less than half (44.8 percent) of the teachers and members of the school management surveyed stated that digital media are used regularly in the classroom. Just 2.2 percent of the school staff indicates that modern concepts such as flipped classrooms, in which the students work through the material independently and classroom or online phases are used for consolidation, take place in their schools. After all, according to the staff surveyed, lessons are already taking place in every tenth school with the main use of digital media. From the parents' point of view, the deficit is even greater: only 37.9 percent state that their children use digital and multimedia media at least regularly at school.

Half of the parents surveyed (51.6 percent) think that digital media are used too seldom in their child's school. In addition, many want better equipment with tablets and laptops. In their experience, only 32.2 percent of the time there are tablet class sets to use when needed. Accordingly, 47.3 percent of parents are demanding corresponding tablet class sets at schools. The school staff, on the other hand, perceives this differently: During the study, a good two-thirds (65.8 percent) stated that their classes were equipped with tablet class sets.

Not all schools have comprehensive internet
In addition to sufficient hardware, comprehensive coverage with broadband Internet is one of the basic requirements for working with digital content. Although a full 98.5 percent of school staff state that their schools are connected to the Internet, only around two-thirds (68.6 percent) have Internet in all the rooms they need. The parents surveyed observed a larger deficit: they state that 93.7 percent of their children's schools have an Internet connection, but only 40.6 percent of them have Internet access in all required rooms. And in their experience, 6.3 percent of the schools have no internet at all.

Lots of WiFi, few smartboards - the status quo in German schools
Three-quarters of school staff (76.1 percent) say there are Wi-Fi access points in classrooms. Desktop PCs or laptops as well as projectors are available in more than half of the classrooms. Smartboards are fewer and far between: Less than half (45.1 percent) of the school staff surveyed have them available in the classroom. According to school staff, there are hardly any sockets on school desks for laptops or smartphones (2.9 percent). Accordingly, more than a third of the parents surveyed (39.6 percent) who state that these devices are not available in the classrooms call for more smart boards and half (53.8 percent) want sockets on school desks.

Teachers with a very positive self-perception of digital competence
Digital education requires more than the right hardware and ubiquitous broadband internet, school staff must be proficient in using digital media. The surveyed members of the school management also see it this way: According to them, the insufficient equipment of the students with digital devices represents the biggest hurdle of digitisation (65.7 percent), followed directly by the digital competence of the teachers with 63.7 percent. On the other hand, there is the self-perception of the teaching staff: 99.5 percent state that they use the Internet as a matter of routine. 22.3 percent of them can even create content for blogs and video channels - and 8.1 percent have programming skills. The teachers do not acquire their digital know-how through training courses or seminars, but through exchange with colleagues (81.5 percent) and through trial and error (70.4 percent).

“Many teachers and school principals are confident in using online applications – this is also shown by the study results. However, they often cannot rely on the IT systems because they are replaced too frequently. In the end, the safest but perhaps worst solution is used, which everyone is forced to work with,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lichtinger, Professor of School Pedagogy, at the IU International University (IU).

Germany’s “Digital pact” is used hesitantly
In view of the many hurdles in digitisation, state funding is all the more relevant. Only 41.5 percent of the members of the school board state that their schools are already working with funds from the federal government’s “Digital Pact” – and a further 40.0 percent have at least submitted or approved an application.
When developing the digitisation strategy, external experts are consulted in schools in two thirds of the cases (67.3 percent). However, most members of the school management named the discussion in the teaching staff (89.0 percent) as the central digitisation measure.

“Digital education is not about simply replacing analogue teaching materials with digital files and tablets. Rather, digital education means implementing a strategic and holistic teaching and learning concept in schools, which must be completely rethought on a digital level,” said Ulrich Kerzel, Professor of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the IU International University (IU).

About the study
For the study, "How digital are our schools?" by the IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU), two groups of people in Germany were surveyed: 683 teachers and members of the school management team and 944 people with a total of 1,268 school-age children in the household. With the study, IU wanted to find out how extensively digital media are used in schools and how well schools are equipped with digital infrastructure.

The white paper for the study is available here.

Images of the speakers:
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lichtinger, professor for school education, employee at the IU International University (IU).
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kerzel, Professor of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the IU International University (IU).

About IU International University of Applied Sciences
With over 85,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised higher education institution offers more than 200 bachelor's and master's degree programmes under its roof, available in German or English. Students can shape their studies their way through the help of a digitally supported learning environment with various study models, such as dual study, distance learning and myStudies – which combines online and on-campus studies. In addition, IU facilitates continuing education and promotes the idea of lifelong learning. In alignment with the university’s mission, it aims to provide access to personalised education to as many people worldwide as possible. IU began operations in 2000 and is now represented in 28 German cities. It cooperates with over 10,000 companies and actively supports them in employee development. Its partners include Deutsche Bahn, Motel One, Telekom, Vodafone und VW Financial Services. Further information at:

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