What are problems with using digital textbooks
In contrast to conventional school books, good digital school books should enable more individual teaching, says Wolfgang Vaupel. He heads the media consultancy in North Rhine-Westphalia, which supports schools in the use of digital media. As an example, he takes a class with 30 students in which everyone has to work with the same book and the same tasks: "Those who could do more will not find the necessary depth in it, and those who cannot cope with the texts have no chance of doing so to work."
Working in lockstep with all children and one learning aid does not work. The learning groups are now too heterogeneous for this. So good digital textbooks would allow all students to work at their own pace and level. Explanatory videos could help one, and those who have problems with correct pronunciation could practice with speech recognition software.
"The main problem is that there are still no uniform concepts of how these digital offers should look like," says Michael Kerres, professor for media didactics at the University of Duisburg-Essen. "Should it be a medium or a platform? Can it be commented on? Who manages it? How are the school book publishers paid for these offers?"
André Spang, for example, thinks of the digital schoolbook of the future as an app, a system that the teacher can design and adapt to the performance level of his students. Spang is senior teacher at the Kaiserin-Augusta-Schule, a municipal high school in Cologne, and one of the pioneers in the German digital school scene. He criticizes the fact that in German schools the stance is often still held that the Internet only prevents learning. "But the Internet will not disappear again - and precisely because the students are constantly on the Internet, they have to learn how to protect themselves from the dangers of the Internet." School must become the place where the responsible use of the media is learned.
"Even young trainees are often critical of digital media"
In order for digital school books - whatever they look like - to move forward, schools, federal states and publishers must jointly develop concepts, the experts agree on this. "Every school needs a media strategy with a pedagogical concept behind it, otherwise tablets and digital learning materials are of no use," says media didactic Kerres. To this end, much still needs to be done in teacher training. André Spang even observes that young trainee teachers are often critical of the use of digital media because they feel left alone.
In any case, one thing is certain: School books are still necessary because they work like a common thread in the classroom - this can also work using an app or a learning platform on the Internet. And the essence of a textbook remains the content: you will only reach the students if the material is presented in an appealing, intelligent, perhaps even exciting way.
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