We award your digitalization projects!

jkucoollab, Ars Electronica Festival, photo: tom mesic

by Veronika Krenn, Producer Ars Electronica

For two years now, the conditions for teaching have changed dramatically due to the pandemic – key words homeschooling and hybrid learning. But it is not only the pandemic that is changing learning: Digitalization has long since found its way into classrooms. Future schooling poses many new challenges for teachers and students, but also offers enormous potential for joint development. Not only can the students benefit from the teachers, but also vice versa: by working together on digital projects, the different generations that meet here can learn from each other through their different experiences.

The education award „Klasse! Lernen. Wir sind digital“, launched by Ars Electronica together with the OeAD, the BMBWF – the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, showcases the dedication and creativity of teachers in using all kinds of digital and provides additional funding to further develop ideas. Submissions are open now and will continue until March 14, 2022. Here are a few answers about who can submit and which projects we’ll be honoring.

photo: Rainer Stropek

Who can submit for “Klasse! Lernen.”?

Groups in which students and teachers in Austrian educational institutions work together to discover a new digital school curriculum are eligible to submit. The focus is on developing projects using digital tools to rethink and redesign school.

Which projects will be awarded?

The Education Award aims to recognize different levels of digitization in schools. On the one hand, we are looking for projects that sustainably promote the use of digital devices. On the other hand, we want to honor new forms of teaching that incorporate modern technologies in the classroom and prepare students for a life with technology across all subjects. For example, this could be a project in which educators use a new form of instruction to teach media literacy and special projects have been created through the commitment of the students.

What can be won?

There is prize money of up to 10,000 euros to be won, which will go towards maintaining the project or supporting further digitization projects. We are not only looking for projects that have already been completed, ideas and projects that have just started or further developments of existing initiatives can also be submitted.

Artificial Intelligence Lab / Melina Undesser (AT), Sebastian Lindinger (AT), Software Architects (AT), photo: vog.photo

Why should you submit?

Typically, children already own a smartphone with Internet access from the age of ten, but in most cases, safe handling of the end devices cannot yet be ensured. Since September 2021, 1,500 schools have been equipped with laptops and tablets as a digital education measure to begin basic digital education as early as secondary level 1 (lower school). The basics of text processing can be taught, learning apps are used, and students learn at a young age how to deal with media content in a competent, self-determined, and above all critical manner. The educational journey “Klasse! Learning. Wir sind digital.” takes the digital educational journey as an opportunity to give a platform to creative and innovative projects, learning models or teaching units and to show the tireless commitment of teachers.

What distinguishes “Klasse! Lernen.” from other digitization initiatives?

The new devices in the elementary school pose new challenges for teachers, in addition to the pandemic of online teaching. “Klasse! Lernen. Wir sind digital.” aims to honor projects created jointly by students and teachers to act as inspiration for others. The aim is to discover the digital world and use it creatively and playfully, and to learn how to use media responsibly. Lessons that have been created through the joy of discovery and development of students and thus develop a new dynamic will ultimately have a lasting impact on the lifelong process of dealing with digital devices and media.

In comparison to the Prix u19 – create your world, which honors projects revolving around young people’s own ideas for the future, the education award “Klasse! Lernen. Wir sind digital.” promotes new models in school lessons that teach digital skills in an innovative and sustainable way. These projects, in contrast to the submissions in the u19 – create your world category, were primarily developed by the educators together with the students as a team and, as described above, have a different focus in terms of content.

Curious? Here you can find out more about the award and about the terms of submission. Submit now!

Veronika Krenn is a producer at Ars Electronica and is responsible, among other things, for the new developments of exhibitions at the Ars Electronica Center. Since graduating from the Interface Cultures program at the Linz University of Art, she has been active as an artist and cultural worker. In her work, she explores unconventional communication strategies in the field of media art and Eat Art. In her activities at artist-run space bb15, she works intensively with international partner organizations to create a network for sound art.

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