2005 | 15 years of zdi: How it all began...

Universities, schools, companies and politics that come together in a network and work together towards one goal: to get children and young people interested in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology. That is still the basic idea and at the same time zdi's recipe for success. This idea came about in 2005 – it was to be designed for and with young people right from the start. Contact with students was important to the creators.

The first time zdi.NRW met schoolchildren was probably in the form of a school timer. The special feature: the zdi calendar was developed by the target group itself. The only requirement: the focus is on the world of MINT.

The first issue was published in the 2005/2006 school year. In the years that followed, four to six students from secondary schools were busy designing the content of the calendar. Together they researched scientific phenomena, technical jobs or interesting events. To do this, they met for regular editorial meetings at the zdi regional office. A responsible task: after all, more than 70.000 copies were printed per issue.

Around 200 pages full of STEM facts, that was the zdi school timer.

2005: Young editorial team designs calendars

Johanna Bömken, then a student at the Sophie-Scholl-Gymnasium in Oberhausen, researched MINT job descriptions for the first issue.
"I found that very interesting because I got to know so many technical jobs and really got a very broad impression of how many different jobs there are in this area," she recalls today of her work on the editorial team.

Today she works at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences. She is deputy head of communications and reports on research projects at the university.

Johanna Bömken now works in science communication

The approximately 200-page timer in DIN A5 format contained, among other things, the description of technical and scientific training occupations and courses. He also presented cutting-edge technology from NRW and explained everyday technology. And it offered a lot of useful things about everyday school life: timetables, overviews of grades, holiday dates, addresses for student exchanges and scholarships, tips for events and excursions, space for notes and addresses and much more.

From zdi to Silicon Valley: A former member of the editorial team now works in the MINT profession

Felix Rieseberg is now a software engineer 

Felix Rieseberg, then a high school student at the Otto Pankok School in Mülheim an der Ruhr, was part of the editorial team in 2006. He researched technical achievements and everyday technical knowledge for the calendar. He now has a STEM degree and works as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, California. He is convinced that “without this student job he would never have ended up in Silicon Valley. Looking back, zdi was an important signal for me that the industry is exciting.”

Six issues, more than 1.000 pages and ideas

The calendar was very popular with both the students and the makers - zdi still receives inquiries as to whether copies are still available. But it was clear to the editors of the school timer that in the age of digitization, a paper diary would not have much of a future. The sixth and last edition was published in 2010. zdi switched to the digital age and used social media to exchange ideas with young people: with an account on Facebook.
Click here for the last issue of the school timer 2010/2011.


More stories from 15 years zdi? 
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