Change in the zdi country coordination

Claas Niehues, MINT coordinator at the Wolfhem School in Olfen, will become the new zdi state coordinator in the Ministry of Education

The photo shows Claas Niehues, a man with short hair, a beard and glasses, smiling at the camera. Claas Niehues is the MSB's new zdi country coordinator.
Claas Niehues

On August 2023, XNUMX, Claas Niehues will step in as zdi country coordination in the Ministry of Schools and Education in North Rhine-Westphalia (MSB) to succeed Klaus Trimborn, Director of Studies, who has accompanied and supported the zdi community in many different ways as state coordinator for many years.

When he took up his new position as zdi country coordinator, Claas Niehues took the time to talk to us about himself, his new role and zdi.NRW.

Mr. Niehues, please introduce yourself. What should the zdi community know about you?

Claas Niehues: I am a qualified engineer with a technical traineeship and have been teaching the subjects technology, physics, math and computer science since 2004. I first taught at the university and realized there that although I enjoy it, the university is too big an institution. At a vocational college I was able to try out teaching at a school and I really enjoyed it. During my legal clerkship, I came into contact with Klaus Trimborn, who was busy founding the zdi center IST.Bochum at the time. So I was always involved with zdi.NRW right from the start. In the further professional career there were also points of contact with zdi.NRW in Marl or in the district of Coesfeld. Finally, I'm at my place of work, the Wolf helmet school in Olfen-Datteln landed.

In addition, I have been practicing falconry as a hobby for 25 years and was able to contribute to a working group for intangible cultural heritage, which means that falconry is now considered an intangible cultural heritage of mankind. I also wrote a book about desert buzzards. On the one hand, falconry is a very good balance to working with technology, on the other hand it offers great opportunities to give the students completely new insights into biology or ecosystems through my birds.

What does STEM mean to you?

Claas Niehues: Klaus Trimborn, with whom I've had a close connection for a long time, always says: It's important that you enjoy playing. As a technology teacher, I'm really good at that. I am also the MINT coordinator at the Wolfhelm School and support the school in positioning itself well and developing in the MINT area. In 2020 the Wolfhelm School will be part of the Excellence Network MINT Schools NRW, I am very proud of that.

What does it mean for you to be able to hold the position of zdi country coordinator?

Claas Niehues: I am aware that I am following in very big footsteps. For me, the first thing is to understand the zdi system and its structure and to get to know as many people in the zdi community as possible. I hold the position of country coordinator part-time and continue to teach. I think it makes little sense to talk about school without going to school yourself. That's why it's important to me to be able to combine both. Apart from that, I would like to continue and respect the ideas and approaches pursued so far at zdi.NRW – even if I might set different priorities here and there.

Which of your future tasks are you particularly looking forward to?

Claas Niehues: I would like to be involved and provide conceptual support for starting competitions in elementary school or lower secondary school.

Personally, I have a particular passion for makerspaces for extracurricular activities. Pupils like to use devices that they do not have at home. These can be made available in such makerspaces. I've helped set up makerspaces myself and I'm always happy to support such projects. At the Wolfhelm School we also have four 3D printers that the students can borrow. It sometimes happens that a printer comes back and has to be repaired first. That happens at my house and I really enjoy doing it.

Will we see you at the zdi community event?

Claas Niehues: Yes, I definitely have to go there! I'm looking forward to getting in touch with the networks. The more people come up to me and ask me things, the better! Because the more I can help.

Many thanks for the interview!


Klaus Trimborn will remain in the zdi community: He will take over the management of the zdi student laboratory ThinkLab in Bochum, which uses gamification approaches and the scientifically based escape room puzzle method to bring STEM closer to children and young people in a playful way.

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