Roundup: Hybrid Talks XXXII "Learning"

© Hybrid Plattform

The 32nd Hybrid Talks were dedicated to the topic of “Learning” for which speakers from the most diverse disciplines could be won again. As a result, the speaker topics of the lecturers were broadly diversified dealing with question such as the framework conditions of understanding and learning with digital simulations in engineering professions (Prof. Dr. Tanja Mansfeld), studies on digital learning utensils (Prof. Dr. Daniel Hromada ) ideals of learning - such as equal access to content (Nadine Klein) and finally the field of aesthetic education (Prof. Dr. Ute Pinkert).

Prof. Dr. Tanja Mansfeld
The opening talk by Prof. Dr. Tanja Mansfeld, who is professor for vocational pedagogy at bbw Hochschule, dealt with the implications of understanding complex manufacturing processes with the help of computer simulations: Students of various engineering professions can understand certain processes - such as forging a wheel scar in a press mould - much better with these simulated animations than with images and sketches.  Furthermore, simulations can be used to learn how to make predictions on the performance of processes in workpieces or systems. Mansfeld explains that it is not necessarily the case that the more realistic a simulation appears, the better it can be understood. Sometimes subcomplex representations are the better choice to represent a process, especially to not exclude those with learning difficulties. Nevertheless, when using simulations in teaching, one should bear in mind that simulations have their own language (false coloring or exaggerated representation) which must be taught to the students in advance. If this is taken into account, the use of simulations in teaching can be a great support.

Link to audio

Prof. Dr. Daniel Hromada
The second talk was held by Prof. Dr. Daniel Hromada, who is a junior professor for Digital Education at Einstein Center Digital Future. His topic dealt with a policy called "BYOD - Bring your own device" (a variation of the well-known invitation to guests to bring their own drinks to the occasion) which refers to the permission of employees or students to bring their own laptop, tablet or smartphone to work or school. Hromada has focussed his research on the context of elementary schools, where the question whether to bring or not-to-bring your own device raises questions that have positive and negative implications:
Cost reduction can be placed on both ends since schools saves money in the first place (which can be spend elsewhere) but then again, the costs are only shifted to another protagonist – namely the parent. Ecology is clearly on the plus side since the child uses the same device it uses at home, so there is no need for purchasing a second device which saves resources after all. On the negative side again are things such as the problem of managing different devices with different operating system for IT-administrators, but also a potential arms race between children for the best possible device. Even though there might be lots of reservations against children bringing their own device to elementary school, Hromada pleads for careful consideration as digital devices are “wonderful tools, that can increase human potential” and suggests finding balanced solution to outweigh the negative side by transforming the dictum once again with “Make your own device”.

Link to Audio

Nadine Klein
The third talk is given by Nadine Klein, who is scientific assistant in the department of Mechanical Engineering Design and Women's Representative at Faculty V, who is introducing “Roberta” an initiative promoting young talent and increasing the proportion of women in MINT occupations: Girls are given an introduction into robotics by setting up and building robotic devises and being lectured on their functioning. Programming these devices is kept simple by working with graphical programming interfaces. Teaching with gender and diversity in mind is an important agenda for Klein: She makes the point that stereotypical images are still used in German education system - for example boys are introduced to technology at an earlier age than girls, who consequently are getting a head start and discourage girls to join later. This is where “Roberta” steps in: Giving girls the opportunity to experience a stereotype-free space of learning, where they can interact with these devices without the pressure to perform “in a right way”.

Link to Audio

Prof. Dr. Ute Pinkert
In the last talk of the evening Prof. Dr. Ute Pinkert, professor for theatre pedagogy at UdK, positioned theatre pedagogy as something that serves to enable people to have educational experiences. While many educators make no difference between the concepts of “learning, educating and experiencing” and use them synonymous, Pinkert argues that preference for individual terms depends on cultural policy settings: In the 80s the term of “learning” was preferred in the theatrical-pedagogical discourse because of its appearance of addressing more people, while “education” seemed to refer to a certain type of people- namely only members of the educated class. The preference for one or the other term changed over the years, making them appear to be antagonists, but Pinkert suggest to not play off these terms against each other, but to been seen in context of its use.
Her approach to what theatre pedagogy might be, is the question of how and what can be learned with productive and receptive interaction among the performing arts? Her answer to that is that “learning” occurs within representations and observations- not outside, but in aesthetic design. Knowledge directly intertwines with moments of aesthetic production.

Link to Audio

Unfortunately the lecture by Prof. Dr. Kirsten Winderlich could not be given due to illness.