Even singing together works digitally. Although the classroom is empty, the choir is complete on the large-format LED display. The students of the “Saxony International School – Carl Hahn” (SIS) in Glauchau use their universally applicable 2-in-1 device, i.e. laptop and tablet in one, to digitally …
Even singing together works digitally. Although the classroom is empty, the choir is complete on the large-format LED display. The students of the “Saxony International School – Carl Hahn” (SIS) in Glauchau use their universally applicable 2-in-1 device, i.e. laptop and tablet in one, to take part in lessons digitally. What is still a utopia in many Saxon schools is now part of everyday life in the 16 SIS schools. “The pandemic was a new challenge, but we solved it relatively well,” says Rüdiger School, who runs the education company together with Melissa Blankenship-Küttner. The managing director is convinced that there is now hardly any difference to real lessons.
However, the digitization of the SIS schools was a feat. With the help of funds from the digital pact, the education company acquired 2,000 notebooks for teaching in a very short time. The new devices meet all the requirements of modern digital everyday teaching. In addition, the interactive offer for the classrooms was expanded with 50 large-format interactive LED touch displays. They serve as a multifunctional media center in the classroom for videos, graphics or as an electronic board. This also created the prerequisites for switching over to homeschooling during the pandemic. The corona crisis was used to make a quantum leap in digital learning and teaching.
The German-American Melissa Blankenship-Küttner is enthusiastic about the new possibilities that digital technology offers. “During the lockdown, the students held online meetings in order to maintain communication with one another. That worked even in kindergarten,” says the manager. The prerequisite for this was that all teachers and educators had also participated. “The whole team has achieved a tremendous achievement,” assures the managing director, and her voice reflects the pride of the company’s more than 350 employees. The “Saxony International School – Carl Hahn” (SIS) is a constantly developing educational institution in association with the GGB Society for Holistic Education gGmbH Saxony (GGB). The school network includes 16 independent, state-recognized schools with an international focus. There are also 19 GGB foreign language day-care centers where English is learned at an early age.
The digitization of teaching even had a positive educational effect. “The pupils have become more independent in their learning. We have no worse results due to Corona,” says Rüdiger School happily about the effect of the technology. Even in the lockdown, structured daily routines with an almost unchanged timetable were a matter of course at the SIS schools. In addition to the daily video lessons, parents’ evenings, parenting talks, open days, choir rehearsals, experiments and cooking shows were organized digitally. “You either have to do it right or not at all,” says the managing director. It was important that the parents were relieved of the great additional burden of having to school the children during the pandemic and their own job. “Many parents thanked us for this,” assures School.
Blankenship-Küttner and School do not want to stop at the level they have now reached. “We will use the opportunities offered by digitization,” says the managing director. Both are working on a school-wide culture for the integration of the new technology and, above all, relying on the willingness of their staff to take risks and try out new things and new forms of teaching. In addition, teacher training courses were offered to demonstrate the added value of the new technology for learners and teachers. New employees have been hired for maintenance and service. “But we also show our children the dangers of the Internet, they also learn to deal with security issues,” explains Blankenship-Küttner.
The new IT equipment is intended to create contemporary framework conditions for practical learning. “The children should be well trained for the world of tomorrow and this world will be global,” says School. It is not for nothing that the former CEO of the Volkswagen Group, Carl Hahn, is associated with the SIS schools with his name. School used to be a university professor of automotive engineering, but in 1989 he founded the education company with its first international kindergarten. Nevertheless, his original job still left its mark on the company.
The subsidiary Saxony International School Middle East GmbH operates three vocational schools for automotive technology at the Egyptian locations in Cairo, Alexandria and Kafr El Zayat. The company is also responsible for an in-house training academy for “Ghabbour Auto”, a leading automotive company in Egypt with around 16,000 employees. There are currently around 600 apprentices studying according to German vocational school curricula. A new project in Egypt is also on the agenda. Blankenship-Küttner is going there for a year to set up an educational institution from kindergarten to high school.
The business award“Saxony’s Entrepreneur of the Year” with the special price “Focus X” and the founder award “Saxony founds – Start-up 2021” is an initiative of Sächsischer Zeitung, Freier Presse, Leipziger Volkszeitung and MDR as well as Volkswagen Sachsen, the auditing and tax consulting company KPMG, LBBW and the health insurance company AOK Plus.