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A factory for critical thinking

Hannes Wenzel, who studies one of the Teacher Education Programmes, visited the Information & Media Literacy Think Tank during the winter semester 2017/2018 and relates his impressions in the video clip. But the University won't leave it at that: an interdisciplinary conference on the think tank is planned for November. The call for papers is currently ongoing.

The Information & Media Literacy Think Tank is a new, interdisciplinary teaching format that was launched in the Didactics Laboratory of the University of Passau in winter semester 2017–18. The think tank allows Teacher Education students to debate issues such as the challenges of education in the digital age, media constructions of reality, alternative truths and fake news  – at eye-level with experts in the field.

The aim of the think tank is to produce budding teachers who critically reflect upon their own use of media services and technologies – as well as the old and new content they provide – and relay this awareness to their future school pupils. 26-year-old Hannes Wenzel is one of those budding teachers. In the video (German) he provides a critical appraisal of the think tank:

Seminars on Information & Media Literacy

The Information & Media Literacy Think Tank aside, a number of seminars were held in the Didactics Laboratory in the winter semester which used elements of gamification to enable students to discover for themselves how to tackle the topic of Information & Media Literacy and even allowed them to try out the results with school pupils.  One example was the 'Learning by Playing' seminar, which was led by art educator Dorothe Knapp and computer science education expert Andreas Dengel: 'At the start of the seminar, school pupils from the girls' secondary school Passau-Niedernburg visited and tested various learning games', said Ms Knapp (photographs by Dorothe Knapp).

She continued: 'Based on the findings derived from this first session, the students developed a number of games and let the pupils test them before the end of the seminar'. The following photographs were take during that session (photographs by Jana Weers).

About the Information & Media Literacy teaching project

Information & Media Literacy is a teaching project developed by SKILL, the model project for innovation in teacher education of the University of Passau. The acronym 'SKILL' stands for 'Strategien zur Kompetenzentwicklung: Innovative Lehr- und Beratungskonzepte in der Lehrerbildung' (Strategies for Developing Competencies: Innovative Teaching and Advice Concepts in Teacher Education). The research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) via the federal-state programme ‘Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung’.

These services are the answer of the University of Passau to the challenges in teacher education that are in part caused by digitalisation. Digitalisation, in the participants' minds, is not a mere technological process, but a development that permeates all facets of life; this makes it necessary to develop new didactical concepts, particularly for school education and tertiary education. Consequently, the 'Di' in 'DiLab' does not stand for 'Digital' but for 'Didactics'.

And that is exactly what the conference to be held on 23 and 24 November at the University of Passau will be about: Information & Media Literacy: Prospects for Education and Digitalisation in a Media, Information and Knowledge Society. Further information