The Deutsche Telekom Stiftung is dedicated to promoting quality education for a digital world, with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM ). The foundation combines its activities under the categories of “education drivers”, “education opportunities”, “education innovations” and “education dialog”. In November 2018, Germany’s former Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr. Thomas de Maizière, joined the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung foundation as Chairperson, succeeding Professor Wolfgang Schuster. Professor Ulrike Cress, Executive Director of the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM) in Tübingen, was appointed as the foundation’s Deputy Chairperson with effect from July 1, 2018.
Forum Bildung Digitalisierung (Digitalization education forum)
Together with six other German foundations, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung lends its support to the Forum Bildung Digitalisierung (“Digitalization education forum”). The aim is to enhance the education system and promote equal opportunities and participation using digital media. The three core topics are “personalized learning”, “developing skills”, and “shaping change”. When it comes to personalized learning, digital media can be used to give different target groups access to different learning approaches, including people with disabilities, particularly talented people and refugees. The goal of the second core topic is to convey the media skills necessary for living an independent life. “Shaping change” focuses on developing an educational concept for using digital media at educational institutions and within the education system. The “schulentwicklung.digital” workshop focuses on changing the school and learning culture through the use of digital media. In the 2018/19 school year, 25 schools that are already successfully incorporating digital media into lessons have been invited to attend this workshop.
“Inquisitive minds” day-care center competition
“Inquisitive minds” is a nationwide day-care center competition in Germany initiated by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and the Little Scientists’ House foundation. The competition picks out and presents awards to outstanding projects that spark young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Its founders aim to show their appreciation for the dedicated efforts of day-care center staff and encourage them to continue their excellent work in the field of early learning. The 16 state champions, who received their awards in June 2018 in Berlin, were each given 2,000 euros. On top of that, each of the five national champions also received 3,000 euros to support educational work in their day-care center. Special awards of 2,000 euros were also handed out, with the total prize money amounting to 80,000 euros.
The Future of STEM Learning
Since 2018, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung foundation has supported the initiative “The Future of STEM Learning”, developing and testing concepts for high-quality STEM lessons in the digital world and integrating them into teacher training programs in collaboration with five German universities. In their development work, the universities receive support from experts based in Germany, Estonia, the Netherlands and Austria – including media educationalists, teaching and learning researchers, STEM pedagogy specialists, and school teachers. In total, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung has invested 1.6 million euros in this project.
Vocational schools going digital
What must vocational schools teach young people to equip them for their professional and personal lives in a digitalized world? Since 2018, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung has been cooperating with ten German vocational schools to determine which inter-professional and occupation-specific digital skills vocational school students need to learn – and which conditions need to be established in such schools to incorporate digital media into their lessons and everyday routine in a beneficial way. Findings are made available to other schools. Researchers from the Institute for Information Management at the University of Bremen supervise the project. Four workshop meetings open to all participants are scheduled by the end of 2019; the first was held on June 4 to 5, 2018 in Bonn, Germany. In return for their dedicated efforts, the schools receive approximately 20,000 euros in funding, opportunities to share ideas with experts and development support throughout the project.
The STEM reading mentors
In collaboration with the German Reading Foundation, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung looks for volunteer reading mentors to get children between the ages of 3 to 10 excited about STEM content. By the end of 2018, around 1,600 reading mentors had signed up for the initiative. The reading mentors receive training in both classroom and online formats. They are then able to work with children at day-care centers and elementary schools. At the end of 2018, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung and the German Reading Foundation were able to offer around 135 media and action tips in ten languages. In the reporting year, STEM reading events were held in Germany, Austria, Romania, Spain and the United States. Moreover, a collaborative agreement with the Progress Foundation was made in 2018 with a view to forming a network of STEM reading mentors in Romanian libraries.
Early studies in STEM subjects
At more than 60 universities across Germany, schoolchildren can experience university-level studies thanks to support from the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung. Helping promote excellence in Germany’s higher education system, the foundation enables universities to offer what is known as “early studies”, whereby highly talented and hard-working schoolchildren are given the chance to attend normal lectures and take university exams during term time. The STEM subjects of mathematics, IT, chemistry and physics are particularly popular among participants. This was confirmed by a non-representative survey conducted by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung in the 2018 summer semester at the relevant German universities, which found that schoolchildren taking part in the initiative often tend to choose courses in STEM subjects.
Other school projects run by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung
FundaMINT is the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung’s grant program for student teachers in STEM subjects. It helps student teachers get ready for their future career. Up to 35 grants are awarded every year for a period of four semesters each. Since 2017, the Vector Foundation has acted as a project partner and funded five FundaMINT grants in each cohort. As of 2018, this number has increased to ten. Since 2016, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung has offered its grant holders the chance to complete a school placement in selected countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe as part of the Klaus Kinkel scholarship program. This part of the FundaMINT program is run in collaboration with the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD), a department of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad.
STEM Didactics Fellowship program
In 2018, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung invited applications for the STEM Didactics Fellowship program for the third time. Up to nine fellowships are granted each year to young researchers and scientists in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, technology and science education. The young fellows can attend seminars and workshops on topics such as job negotiations and supervising doctoral candidates and are involved in the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung network.
The “Yes, I can!” initiative supports another 82 digital competence projects
With the “Yes, I can!” initiative, the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung teaches young people key skills for an independent and confident life in the digital world. In 2018, the initiative funded 82 open youth work projects focused on teaching media and digital skills. Under the banner “key skills for the digital world”, 340 institutes submitted their concepts. As in previous years, the total funding in 2018 amounted to approximately 600,000 euros. The age of the children and young people in the funded projects is between 9 and 16. Just under 1,300 projects throughout Germany have already received funding from the “Yes, I can!” initiative, with more than 6 million euros being awarded since it was launched eight years ago.
Media Prize for Educational Journalism
The Media Prize for Educational Journalism, which the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung has presented since 2014, is the only award in the whole of Germany to exclusively honor contributions to educational journalism. The aim of the award is to raise public awareness of education issues and give educational journalists the appreciation they deserve for their vital work. From 100 or so submissions, a panel of five judges led by Hans Werner Kilz selected the following winners:
Sonar education magazine
In today’s digital age, we are consuming information at an increasingly rapid pace. Getting to the heart of complex topics often calls for more than a cursory glance, however. We need to take the time to consider such matters from all angles and other perspectives, which is precisely what the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung’s “Sonar” education magazine sets out to achieve. Published twice a year, the magazine discusses relevant educational topics in the form of interviews, essays and service articles across 32 pages.