The Professional School of Education (PSE) Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg has been awarded funding worth a total of around 600,000 euros over a period of three years starting in January 2021 by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg from the funding line “Teacher Education: Innovative Concepts for Digitalization and Teaching Degrees” for its “digital.macht.schule” project. The purpose of the funding is to establish and operate a network of ten reference schools of different types at secondary level (vocational schools, grammar schools, comprehensive schools, secondary schools) which are characterized by their particular willingness to innovate and for their digital media infrastructure environment for teaching and for everyday school life.
Baden-Württemberg's Minister for Science, Research and the Arts Theresia Bauer was full of praise for the collaborative project: “The ‘digital.macht.schule’ project is an example of how digital skills taught in teacher training can be successfully applied in schools, which makes it vital for training the teachers of the future. It makes me particularly happy to see how students in teaching degree programs as well as the students at the schools taking part can both benefit from it.”
Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart, described the PSE as a think tank and real-world laboratory for the teacher training of the future, and was pleased at the funding awarded by the state government: “This project funding will further strengthen the ties between universities and schools to help develop teacher training programs that are fit for the future.”
Prof. Martin Fix, Rector at the Ludwigsburg University of Education, said that "The PSE has shown once again how significant a role the new funding plays as regards innovation in teacher training as a collaboration between a network of universities, especially considering how important the digitalization strategy is at the moment.”
The “digital.macht.schule” project wants to enhance the cooperation between the various stages of teacher training in the Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg area, and to accomplish this it assembles a broad-based team of experts from the participating universities: teacher-training universities, seminars for educating and training teaching staff in Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg and Esslingen, the Stuttgart regional office of the Center for School Quality and Teacher Training (ZSL) as well as the State Media Center of Baden-Württemberg.
The project leader on behalf of the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Christine Sälzer from the Institute of Educational Science and Psychology (IfW), characterized the cooperation as follows: “The fact that the application has been successful means that the PSE gains some important momentum for developing its teacher training program as well as the empirical educational research from the schools themselves, most of which have already taken steps towards increasing digitalization. The approaches which have been shown to work in practice are applied here and spread across the network of schools –this can be the key to participating and making educational processes work even under severe constraints, especially at the moment with the pandemic.”
Her counterpart at the Ludwigsburg University of Education, Prof. Albrecht Wacker, adds: “The aim of the “digital.macht.schule” project is to address the challenges faced in education using a theoretical and empirical foundation, and to embed the approaches developed in the process into teacher training programs.”
The focus of integrating the schools which make up the “digital.macht.schule” network to the PSE is the close reciprocal exchange which should be facilitated and accompanied at various levels by the initiative, both between the schools as well as between the schools and the universities. Coordinating empirical research at the universities with digitalization in teacher training with practical experience in schools should also contribute towards improving the coherence between the different stages of teacher training.
Three program lines are set up for this purpose: Digital lesson plans which have already been developed are tested out in a real-life lesson situation as part of a contact program. The reference schools and the project partners are invited to take turns in participating in a dialog with one another in the “digital.macht.schule” forum. Eventually, the plan is for opportunities to fund projects and research initiatives within the network to be put out to tender on a yearly basis.
The Professional School of Education
At the beginning of 2016, the universities of Stuttgart and Hohenheim, the Ludwigsburg University of Education, the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design and the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart joined forces to usher in a new era in the training of future teachers in the Stuttgart area. The aim of the cooperation between universities is to consolidate the “Professional School of Education (PSE)” as part of the “Quality Offensive in Teacher Training” initiative run by the federal and state governments in Germany. Trainee teachers benefit from the fact that the initiative assumes responsibility for teacher training as a whole, as well as carrying out any relevant research and development. The project partners aim to improve harmonization and strengthen links between the science courses being taught and the methodology of science teaching and educational science.