Institute for Media and Schools
Our research is directed toward the question of how to use digital media for facilitating teaching and learning processes. How can we best prepare children for their lives in the information society? What are the challenges facing schools and how can we help to resolve them? What do these new developments mean for universities? In recent years, we have been examining questions of this kind through a series of projects, funded by Swiss National Science Foundation as well as other partners. Next to empirical projects, we have been developing practical solutions and methods for schools.
Game-based learning to promote media competency
With support from the Swiss National Science Foundation, we are conducting a series of quasi-experimental studies to determine the conditions under which the use of computer games for classroom instruction results in increased motivation and engagement with the instructional content. We are specifically investigating the importance of collateral learning tasks and teacher support for the learning process using games.
Financing: Swiss National Science Foundation, DORE division
Virtual:stories – peer education using video-based case histories
The virtual:stories project is pursuing a new approach to peer education using videos and online discussions. In anonymous interviews, young people share their Internet experiences and, in this way, increase the awareness of other young people. The issues that are addressed include cyber-stalking, chat acquaintanceships, subscription traps and Internet fraud.
Financing: Swiss Federal Office of Social Security
Partner: midnight:sport, RADIX
perLen – digital media for individualised learning
As part of the perLen project at the University of Zurich, 50 schools are studied in the process of developing individualised learning programmes. In a sub-project of this longitudinal study, the Institute for Media and Schools is analysing the use of online platforms and other digital media to aid in this expansion of individualised learning.
Financing: Stiftung Mercator
i-factory – understanding information sciences
The i-factory exhibit at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne gives students a chance to engage in compelling interactive experiments to learn the basic elements of computer science – programming, process planning and control, information search and sorting as well as complexity management. The Institute for Media and Schools was involved with the conception of the exhibition and conducts workshops for teachers.
Financing: Hasler Stiftung
Partner: Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne
The Goldau project school – one-to-one computing
For some years now, the Institute for Media and Schools has been working in collaboration with the Goldau primary school as a way of grounding its activities in daily school practice. Since 2009 the project school has been experimenting with the potential uses of smartphones for teaching and learning. The project is being conducted in the form of a dialogue between science and practice. The progress of school and instructional development has regularly been documented on a weblog.
Project partner: Arth community schools
Flexible study programmes at the Schwyz University of Teacher Education
An important step in creating a future-oriented system for teacher training is to offer future teachers more flexible training options. Beginning in the 2005–06 academic year, the Schwyz University of Teacher Education has been offering teacher diploma programmes at the primary grade and kindergarten/lower grade levels in the form of blended learning with expanded self-study opportunities.
Awwware.ch – an online game to enhance media competence
Awwware.ch is a browser-based online game that helps children and adolescents to develop their competence to deal with problematic Internet content. Previous campaigns to increase awareness and sensitise young people have offered extensive informational materials, but very rarely presented these in a visually compelling or playful form. A particular feature of Awwware is that it uses real websites as its game interfaces. However, legal protection for minors is assured throughout the game.
Financing: Gebert Rüf Stiftung
iLearnIT.ch – playful models for discovering computer science
On the iLearnIT.ch website, children and adolescents can discover and experiment with important elements of computer science. The website offers puzzles, explanations and programming examples using the application Scratch. To demonstrate that there is more to the information sciences than just “computers” and “programming”, each topic is also illustrated with examples and experiments that involve no electronics. The readings are available in German and French, and the content is adapted in each language to the needs of primary school students and Level I and II secondary school students. iLearnIT is designed to stimulate students’ interest in the information sciences in a playful way and to impart the basic concepts of computer science.
Financing: Hasler Stiftung
Evaluating the Swiss Educational Server
In 2010–12, the Institute for Media and Schools evaluated the activities and products of the Swiss Educational Server on behalf of the EDK (Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education) and the BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency). During the first year of the evaluation, the IMS analysed the products and services offered by the Swiss Educational Server and conducted interviews with the Swiss Educational Server team. During the second year, the project focused on a survey of users and non-users. During the third year, the project used a Delphi survey to develop insights for the continued development of the Educational Server as well as its products and services.
Financing: EDK (Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education) and the BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency)
Partner: frit-tic PH Freiburg
Schools in the information society
The poster “Schools in the Information Society” was designed to stimulate thinking about current and future roles for digital media in schools. It was intended to serve as a basis of discussion for school-based working groups and in continuing education programmes. The poster was developed with the support of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW). It can be downloaded and used free under Creative Commons license number BY-NC 3.0 (i.e. non-commercial use; author acknowledgment required).
Financing: Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
ICT-related beliefs of teachers
Despite intensive programmes to encourage them to do so, the majority of Swiss teachers have only sporadically made use of the educational possibilities of newer media. A study was conducted to explore the reasons for such reluctance. The study used both quantitative methods and a qualitative survey of teachers and students to determine how IT resources and media-related skills and beliefs impact a school’s innovation culture.
Financing: Swiss National Science Foundation, Division I
Term: 10/ 2009–03/2011
ICT and the Media in “Lehrplan 21”
“Lehrplan 21” [Curriculum 21] represents the first attempt to create a shared curriculum for public schools in all of the German-speaking Swiss cantons. Lehrplan 21 includes eleven class levels – two kindergarten years as well as nine years of primary and secondary schooling. It describes the curriculum for required and elective subjects throughout the period of compulsory schooling. The intention was that Lehrplan 21 would be a practice-relevant, ready-to-use product for teaching staff. Beat Döbeli Honegger represented the Institute for Media and Schools (IMS) as part of the ICT working group.
Financing: D-EDK (German-language Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education)
Unterrichtsvideos.ch – a video library for teacher education
Instructional videos have broad potential in teacher training. They can serve as models of “good practice”, but also as a point of departure for case history and problem-based learning. Videos from real classroom contexts are sensitive materials that require careful management of personal privacy and data protection issues. Unterrichtsvideos.ch was developed as a platform to make it possible to disseminate videos with differential usage rights, and it has grown into a library of several hundred videos.
Financing: Milton Ray Hartmann Stiftung
Project partner: Prof. Kurt Reusser, University of Zürich
Term: 12/2007–12/ 2010
Learninglog.org – promoting learning strategies with weblogs
Learninglog.org is a non-commercial platform for Swiss educational institutions. Students can document their learning using password-protected weblogs. Teachers are able to pose questions and make comments. Writing learning journals is considered a proven method for promoting learning strategies and metacognition. Whereas weblogs are normally completely flexible in the way that entries are organized, in this project, the open source solution WordPress was adapted to explore various methods of prestructuring entries, with the ultimate aim of creating an effective learning journal.
Financing: BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency) / "Good Pr@ctice" PPP-SiN (Public Private Partnership – Schools on the Net)
ICT in Instruction at Secondary Level I in the Canton of Schwyz
The Canton of Schwyz adopted guidelines for equipping schools with computers and internet connections, including technical support and educational advising. Guidelines were also adopted for a compulsory continuing education programme, and for the introduction of the Central Switzerland ICT and Media Curriculum Enhancement Plan. Based on an online survey of all secondary school teachers and all students in the 9th grade, we developed an overview of the status of implementation.
Financing: AVS Schwyz
Term: 04/ 2009–11/ 2010
Keyboard writing in primary schools in the Canton of Schwyz
In the Canton of Schwyz, 10 primary school classes were involved in an initial year-long pilot study for early learning of keyboard writing beginning in the 4th grade, and in 5 of these classes, the study extended to two years. The design did not call for a separate subject class, but instead, the students were taught keyboard writing on an individualised basis during free classroom periods using appropriate learning software. The outcome was tested using a pre-test/post-test design that included 4 additional control classes. The evaluation consisted of a writing test, a student survey, a teacher survey and a parent survey.
Financing: AVS Schwyz
Schweizr.ch – location-based mobile learning
In its “Schweizr Suissr Svizzr” project, the Institute for Media and Schools developed a platform and a mobile app that permits students to collect photos and the stories connected to them on the internet and situate them on a map of Switzerland. By assembling many past and current personal experiences, they generated a new and diverse image of Switzerland. The platform is suitable for use in local history and history classes. The project was honoured with the 2007 Prix Multimedia by SSR SRG Idee Suisse, and in 2010, won a bronze medal in the categories “Innovation” and “Public Affairs” from Best of Swiss Web.
Financing: Prix Multimedia, SSR SRG Idee Suisse, Swisscom AG
Term: 11/ 2007–12/2010
E-learning and blended learning in schools and vocational education
Educanet has been available to Swiss educational institutions as a cost-free learning platform since 2001, and since 2004, educanet2 has offered additional features. However, for a long time, nobody could know exactly how Swiss educational institutions were making use of the availability of educanet2. The project combined a representative status review with practice-oriented portraits of selected schools that had been identified in connection with the status survey. In this way, different approaches to the meaningful application of learning platforms in schools were illustrated.
Financing: Swiss National Science Foundation / DORE, Milton Ray Hartmann Stiftung
ICT in primary school instruction (ICTiP): video-based case studies
In close cooperation with “Pioneer” teachers, we identified a range of models for the use of ICT in everyday teaching as part of a research study, documented them using videos, and made them available for teacher training in a book together with supplementary DVD’s and on a video-supported internet platform.
Financing: Swiss National Science Foundation / DORE, Sauerländer Verlag
Term: 08/2005 – 08/2007
Computers and the internet in Swiss schools: 2001–2007
At the beginning of 2007 we conducted a representative study on the use of computers and the internet in Swiss schools as part of a cooperative project. The study included all grade levels from the primary school grades through Secondary Level II (Gymnasium, FMS/DMS, vocational training). It generated insights concerning changes that have taken place since the previous survey in 2001. In this way, it tracked developments occurring since the launch of the “Public Private Partnership – Schools on the Net (PPP-SiN) initiative. The aim was to take a realistic look at the current situation in Switzerland as the basis for further policy decisions.
Financing: BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency), BFS (Federal Office for Statistics), SFIB (Swiss Office for Information Technologies in Education)
ICT in primary schools – research review, case studies, Delphi survey
On behalf of the Swiss Federation of Teachers, we developed a status report on current knowledge about the use of computer and the internet at the primary school level. The findings from literature research were supplemented with case studies from eight exemplary primary schools in four selected Swiss cantons and a Delphi survey of 53 experts from the greater German-speaking world concerning future developments.
Financing: LCH (Swiss Federation of Teachers), Swiss¬com
ICT competency profile for teachers
One of the major problems apparent in educating teachers in ICT use is the great heterogeneity of prior ICT-specific knowledge on the part of participants in continuing education programmes. In order to conduct a prior analysis of demands and needs, we developed a self-assessment inventory. Teachers can independently complete the inventory to generate an overview of their own competencies. Furthermore, continuing education educators can use the instrument specifically for better estimating the individual strengths and weaknesses of their course participants.
Financing: PHZ endowment funds
Educaguides: ICT didactics and ICT ethics
The BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency) commissioned the development of instructional guides for the introduction of new media in instruction. Overall, six guides were published as part of the Swiss Educational Server, covering the subjects of technology, the law, ethics, didactics, heterogeneity, and literacy. The Institute for Media and Schools took responsibility for developing the volumes on ICT Ethics and IT Didactics.
Financing: BBT (Federal Training and Technology Agency), EDK (Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education), SFIB (Swiss Office for Information Technologies in Education), SATW Com ICT (Ethics Guide)
Project Partners: Zurich Teachers College, among others
Term: April 2005 – end of 2006
Evaluation of cadre training in media education (KAMEZ)
The KAMEZ advanced training course is aimed at training cadres of teachers who will then go on to train their colleagues to make the best possible use of ICT in instruction. This evaluation, conducted on behalf of Central Switzerland Educational Planning Office, examined the quality and efficacy of this training programme.
Financing: Central Switzerland Education Planning Office
EISWeb – web-based European-wide innovative school development
In a European cooperative project that is part of the Comenius 2 Programme, international experts in educational reform are developing an online course of study on school development. The academic goal is to develop a “mathetics” of e-learning that seeks to integrate ideas for educational reform with newer approaches to online didactics.
Financing: EU Comenius 2
Project Partners: Vienna University of Teacher Education (Austria), Hogeschool Edith Stein (Netherlands), Osnabrück University (Germany), among others
"Use IT" – evaluation of secondary schools in the Swiss city of Solothurn
The secondary schools in the Swiss city of Solothurn decided to increase the intensity of computer use in instruction. Teachers were given personal notebook computers, and the schools were equipped with a pool of notebooks, peripherals and wireless networks. Extensive educational and technical support was set up. The project was evaluated by the Institute for Media and Schools using quantitative surveys of teachers and students and qualitative surveys of teachers and support personnel.
Financing: Solothurn city schools
Pädagogische Hochschule Schwyz
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