School closings due to Corona: the hour of e-learning


Learning at home shouldn’t look like this.
Picture: Picture Alliance

Schools are closed, lectures are canceled, no more time for education? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! If you want, you can access an enormous range.

LEere classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, canceled conferences, trips, club evenings: The Germans have to change their lives properly these days, this also applies to training – both small and large. On Monday, the children were allowed to go back to school to pick up books, notebooks, homework, and now the lessons are canceled.

Alexander Armbruster

Gustav Theile

On the other hand, the coming weeks do not have to be a learning break without learning, on the contrary. The Internet has long been a comprehensive and often free offer in almost all subject areas, in the form of short explanatory videos or long lectures, with and without integrated exercises or certified degrees.

An essential contact point is the video platform Youtube, which belongs to the American Internet company Google. Kai Schmidt, for example, teaches mathematics there, and more than 420,000 people now subscribe to his “Lehrerschmidt” channel. In more than 1500 different short videos, he introduces parabolas or linear functions and offers material for schoolchildren from the first to the tenth grade.

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An even larger audience is served by Daniel Jung, whose channel “Math by Daniel Jung” is subscribed to by more than 620,000 people and who even explains content right up to studying mathematics. He understands his offer on the one hand as tutoring for those who did not understand the content in class or study and need to rework it – but on the other hand as further training for those who would like to know more than they might learn in the class association at school.

Mirko Drotschmann again offers general knowledge on current political and social issues as “MrWissen2Go”. He explains there how right-wing extremist terror expresses itself in Germany, which goals the Fridays For Future movement pursues or what is behind the digital pact – there is of course currently documentation on how dangerous the corona virus is. He has almost 1.2 million subscribers there, a little less than 400,000 users have in turn registered on his more recent separate channel about history.

The Indian Sabin Mathew explains a wide range of technology topics on the “Learn Engineering” channel he has set up in English. Apart from the large platform, there are also various different offers. The “ANTON learning platform” (www.anton-app.de) is particularly suitable for pupils, especially in primary school.

For professionals, for example, the Internet University Udacity, founded by the German-born computer scientist Sebastian Thrun, offers complete courses in programming, artificial intelligence or cloud computing, some of which extend over months – including exams and final certificates. Computer scientist Andrew Ng, who teaches at Stanford University, offers a similar program with the Coursera Internet University he founded. With Udacity like Coursera, well-known corporations and universities work together. “The gap created by Corona can only be filled with adequate technical solutions and didactic concepts for distance learning in the media,” says David Meinhard from the Institute of German Business (IW) in Cologne.

Suddenly at the top of the app charts

A look at the app charts reveals how important e-learning has become in these times. All of a sudden, apps are being pushed to the top of the nationwide rankings there, which otherwise don’t even reach the top 100 of most downloads. One of these apps is called Study Smarter. It offers learning content for children, teenagers and students.

Maurice Khudhir is one of the four founders of the Munich start-up and reports in conversation with the F.A.Z. of an “incredible multiplication” of access to the platform. “At the weekend we were the top 1 in the German charts.” No other app was therefore downloaded more frequently than that of the Munich start-up, which was founded in early 2018 and, according to Khudhir, has just 30 employees.

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