– Qualitative enhancements in lifelong learning thanks to digitization
– Wide consensus that all players – government, business and educators – need to get on board
Hannover, Germany. As the world's leading education trade fair, didacta 2018 played a pivotal role in launching a new education initiative. 840 exhibitors, 130 of them from outside Germany, presented new concepts addressing every stage of lifelong learning to an audience of more than 73,000 visitors. Key players in the education sector shared ideas and viewpoints in some 1,400 forums, workshops, presentations and seminars in an open dialogue marked by a spirit of change in the education sector. The popularity and reach of the supporting events held in the on-site Convention Center experienced another upswing, with attendance rising to a total of approximately 6,000. This success was largely due to the attractiveness of the offerings in the childcare seminars related to continuing education, which drew significantly more attendees at the 2018 show.
Education summit targets improvements with the long run in mind
Deutsche Messe (the organizers of didacta 2018) and the Didacta Association and the Educational Media Association (as non-commercial collaboration partners and supporters) were highly pleased with the run of the show. "Our optimized concept for didacta featured a new site layout in Hannover and was extremely well received by visitors and exhibitors alike. We experienced a highly successful didacta 2018, where absolutely everything relevant to lifelong learning was covered at a single venue," commented Dr. Andreas Gruchow, the member of the Deutsche Messe Managing Board responsible for didacta 2018. "With over 100 exhibitors more than at the previous event, the didacta staged in Hannover showcased an array of groundbreaking innovations in the education sector. What's more, didacta has become even more international, with exhibitors from around 50 nations taking part. The keen interest shown in didacta 2018 not only underscores our success as tradeshow organizers, but also demonstrates that education - essentially a ‘raw material’ for society - is a hot topic of great relevance to people. We are pleased that so many education professionals as well as members of government and solution providers have come to Hannover, and that we - together with, the Didacta Association and the Educational Media Association as our established partners - were able to demonstrate how this 'education summit' can serve as a veritable laboratory and crucible for the future of education," added Gruchow.
Reaping the golden opportunities of digital transformation – all stakeholders needed on board
The key topics at didacta 2018 in Hannover included the new challenges brought on by the growing impact of digitization. Professor Wassilios E. Fthenakis, President of the Didacta Association, summarized the core thrust of didacta in Hannover: "didacta 2018 has sent a clear educational policy signal: The time is ripe for far-reaching changes in the German education system. Digital transformation offers tremendous opportunities to redesign teaching and learning processes and expand traditional learning environments for the benefit of pupils and education professionals alike. By creatively combining analogue and digital offerings and approaches, teachers can make self-directed, cooperative learning even more effective while also promoting problem-solving skills and creativity."
Professor Fthenakis made clear that the current challenges in the education sector can only be tackled by means of broad social commitment, outlining how the Didacta Association supports teachers in adapting teaching processes to the latest requirements: "The Didacta Association and the education sector will support [teachers] by providing the right offerings. We will also continue to rally for policymakers to take the necessary steps, namely the expansion of digital infrastructure, the associated qualification of education professionals and, above all, the creation of pedagogical and didactic concepts that not only justify the use of digital technology, but also lead to the desired success. Technology, alone, doesn't automatically lead to advances in learning. Didacta 2018 has shown there are many promising approaches that must now be pursued with great commitment on the part of all stakeholders, be they educators, commercial solution providers or government policymakers."
Educational media publishers praise wide scope of didacta
The wide array of topics and promising approaches featured at didacta 2018 met with keen interest on the apart of the many teachers and other education experts in attendance. In the words of Wilmar Diepgrond, President of the Educational Media Association: "The educational media publishers at the event expressed great satisfaction with this five-day 'education summit', which lived up to its reputation and offered teachers and other interested parties a rich lineup of displays and events covering all the hottest educational policy issues ranging from inclusiveness and individual support to digital teaching and learning. The show's many workshops and presentations called attention to innovative products and provided valuable orientation and tips for real-world educators.”
In-depth, constructive dialogue between exhibitors and visitors
Reinhard Koslitz, Managing Director of the Didacta Association, gave a similarly positive assessment of didacta 2018, indicating that it had succeeded in sparking the fresh ideas needed for a new education offensive. Koslitz praised the forward-looking spirit at didacta 2018: "We are delighted about the very in-depth and constructive dialogue that took place between visitors and solution providers. Education professionals are looking for inspiration for their daily challenges, and ways of dealing with the ever-increasing workloads they are facing. Supporting them is our job, and that is why we once again invested a great deal in continuing education offerings and the expo part of the event in Hannover." Koslitz was impressed by the innovative strength of companies in the education sector. Fresh thinking was particularly evident at Startup Valley, which successfully premiered at didacta 2018. "Exhibitors are increasingly focusing on holistic solutions in which digital devices and pedagogical concepts work hand in hand," continued Koslitz. "In this spirit, for the first time 50 startups joined the Hannover event keen on treating the education market to fresh ideas."
The next Hannover-staged didacta is scheduled for 2021.