Ideal learning spaces, diversity that generates opportunity, digital teaching aids – the Hannover-based didacta 2015 exhibition provided important ideas for the educational sector. As the world's leading education fair, didacta ended its five-day run on 28 February with exhibitors and organizers drawing a positive balance. Putting its Convention Center and five exhibition halls at the service of the event, Deutsche Messe, which organized didacta 2015 in cooperation with non-commercial sponsors the German Didacta Association and the German Educational Media Association, provided an ideal platform for leading-edge conferences and the presentation of numerous educational sector innovations. "The extensive offerings from our more than 750 exhibitors and numerous high-caliber presentations, workshops and discussion rounds yielded genuine highlights for the more than 72,000 visitors on all five days of didacta 2015," commented Dr. Jochen Köckler, member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe. "Above all we are delighted that the core topics at didacta 2015 were in tune with the needs of the leading target groups and consequently resonated with the relevant education themes."
Prof. Dr. Wassilios E. Fthenakis, President of the Didacta Association, emphasized the importance of didacta for education policymakers: "It enriched a debate which has yet to receive adequate public attention in a key aspect, i.e. the expansion of learning spaces. This includes the family, the social environment and non-school learning venues as well as virtual learning spaces, which are having a growing influence on educational processes. Integrating these learning spaces into our education system is one of the key challenges we will need to master in the coming years. This is the only way we can succeed in harnessing diversity in all its forms to educational processes so we can offer all children fair educational opportunities. didacta delivered some important ideas in this regard."
Reinhard Koslitz, Managing Director of the Didacta Association, drew positive conclusions from the event: "We want to arm visitors to didacta with the tools and concepts which can help them in their daily work in childcare centers, schools and enterprises. And we want to show them perspectives for how teaching and learning will develop over the coming years. The education industry succeeded in doing this once again this year. Both in the exhibition and at the forums, topics like early education, digital education and career education were real visitor magnets. We are particularly pleased at the strong foreign demand for education 'Made in Germany'."
Strong interest among young teachers
Wilmar Diepgrond, Chairman of the Educational Media Association, sees the concept behind didacta confirmed by the strong level of interest among young teachers.: "didacta 2015 – the education fair in Hannover – was a complete success for educational media producers. The exhibiting publishers conducted many good conversations with teachers who came for information on the numerous innovations and didactic trends involving digital and analog products for teaching and studying. I was particularly delighted at the interest displayed by young teachers and student teachers who visited didacta in particularly large numbers this year. The key focus for us at the fair was BILDUNGSLOGIN, an online facility which in future will allow users to access digital schoolbooks and other digital educational media such as online applications and enriched classroom material from different publishers, all managed via central software."
Gabriele Carmanns, Sales Director of Ernst Klett Publishers, was delighted at the high number of student teachers: "For Ernst Klett Publishers didacta 2015 was successful as a whole. There was a higher number of student teachers in comparison to previous years, which pleased us greatly. Overall there was a warm and open atmosphere at the Klett exhibition stand on all days of the fair."
Exhibitors praise concept of didacta 2015 in Hannover
didacta 2015 featured a uniquely diverse range of educational offerings for all ages. Five clearly delineated display sectors – Early Childhood Education, School/University, New Technologies, Vocational Training/Qualification and Ministries/Institutions/Organizations – provided a visitor-friendly structure which was also highly popular among exhibitors. "Our digital concepts for secondary-school lessons were ideally placed in the "New Technologies" hall at didacta," explained Stefan Ginthum, Regional Sales Manager for LEGO Education Deutschland. "And with our stand in the "School" hall we also met exactly the target groups we wanted to reach. We were highly satisfied with the professional organization of the event by Deutsche Messe and the superb infrastructure here. We are already looking forward to the next didacta here in three years!" And Ralf Halfbrodt, Managing Director of the Westermann Gruppe, also drew a consistently positive balance: "For us, didacta is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our new products like the new Diercke World Atlas, the kapiert.de study portal and the BiBox teacher and student portal. Our stands were heavily frequented – above all by our younger target groups."
Practiced diversity for equal opportunity at all education institutions
One of the key issues explored at didacta 2015 involved the ideal conditions for successful "inclusive education", and a number of highly promising solution approaches were presented there. The necessity of appreciating diversity, as recognized in 2009 by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and summed up in the term "inclusion", is undisputed and the resulting task clear: Every school needs to be able to include the disabled. But since there are neither enough adequately schooled personnel or comprehensive know-how or ideal classrooms available, the need for constructive solutions is enormous. In this area didacta did justice to its role as a key idea-giver by featuring exhibitors like rehaKIND, Aktion Mensch and the Christoffel Mission for the Blind, all showing doable paths to greater inclusion.
Education requires vital learning spaces – in and out of school
A further trend which exhibitors like the German Youth Hostel Association (DJH), the Bremerhaven Climate House and Herden Study Trips Berlin featured at didacta 2015 involves the extension of traditional educational institutions via learning venues which are as pedagogical as they are exciting. At didacta it was clear that education thrives in situations where knowledge is communicated in a lively, hands-on fashion. For this reason school furniture and equipment is becoming an increasingly important subject. Exhibitors like VS Vereinigte Spezialmöbelfabriken furniture manufacturers, DUSYMA and Rosan Bosch showed at didacta how modern, kid-friendly design is making inroads into daycare centers and schools and spiritedly transcending the limits of conventional architecture. Silke Günther, Director of Sales & Marketing at ASS-Einrichtungssysteme GmbH, explains that her company's goal is "to make schools an inspiring place to feel well – for students as well as teachers. Didacta is the ideal venue for us to present these interior design concepts and make them tangible."
The next didacta in Hannover will take place from 20–24 February 2018.