First digital zdi BarCamp: hygiene concepts, new digital approaches and financing

For the first time, the annual zdi-BarCamp took place digitally: Over 80 representatives from the zdi community discussed the MINT promotion of young talent in NRW. This makes the digital zdi BarCamp the largest online BarCamp to date on the subject of promoting young MINT talent in NRW. Above all, the possibilities of digital cooperation with schools, companies and other partners in order to offer children and young people exciting MINT offers were discussed.

Mainly because of the corona pandemic, the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories have suspended their on-site courses in recent months and have increasingly offered online workshops such as digital escape rooms or programming courses. The question of how successful online courses should be designed keeps coming up. In addition to technical challenges, the scientific and technical content must also be transferred into a digital format. Here, solutions were sought in various sessions. The participants also addressed concerns about the long-term financing of the network work - which is also viewed with concern in some regions due to the corona pandemic.

Comply with the Corona Protection Ordinance for face-to-face courses

The discussion about compliance with hygiene rules at on-site events was particularly exciting. "We can see that the zdi community would like to plan face-to-face events again, but is unsure because of the restrictions imposed by the Corona Protection Ordinance," says Magdalena Hein from the zdi state office, which organized the zdi BarCamp. "In the associated session, however, numerous ideas were exchanged and the networks and student laboratories helped each other to clarify questions. This is how a BarCamp should run!”

Online Courses: Hype or "Philosopher's Stone"?

The sessions that revolved around online courses were also intensive. The networks were particularly concerned with the question of whether the digital courses currently being offered are just hype or whether they will establish themselves in the long term. 34 participants met in the corresponding session - making this the most attended round. "At the end of the discussion, it was clear to the group: Corona has given the go-ahead," says Heinz Stöckemann from the zdi regional office, who moderated the session. "In the long term, the zdi networks assume that both face-to-face courses and online events should be offered. This brings with it new challenges: blended learning and of course the question of how haptic experiences can be combined with digital offers, for example using mobile experiment boxes.” To do this, the employees and lecturers in the regions now have to undergo further training in order to be able to offer digital courses to be implemented in a professional and didactic as well as technically appealing manner. Here, the networks count above all on cooperation with each other: those who have already had good experiences support those who are still at the beginning of online courses.

Example projects were also presented in the BarCamp, in which Nils Reuter from the zdi center in Hamm, among others, explained the "Discord" tool. In addition, one session dealt with the possibilities of combining haptic experiences with web courses. Because 15 years of zdi.NRW show: Enthusiasm comes from experimentation and real research. This is much more difficult for the young people at home without equipment than in the more than 70 zdi student laboratories, which have different devices - from 3D printers to chemistry laboratories. Borrowed materials are a way of giving the students something to understand at home - here in turn there are questions about later cleaning and shipping. In the session, Klaus Trimborn from the zdi network IST.Bochum and Chrissoula Toulido from the zdi center KReMINTec presented their successful solutions.

Behind the scenes: moderation studio of the zdi regional office

The zdi state office, which had organized the event on behalf of the NRW Ministry of Science, had also dealt with the question of a haptic connection between the participants: As a result, every BarCamp participant received a parcel in advance, in which In addition to a non-alcoholic cocktail to toast, there was also a USB fan - after all, it was a very hot summer day - and a cleaning kit for screens. In this way, everyone was able to provide the necessary perspective.

In order to offer the participants a professional framework, the zdi central office has also set up a live studio for the moderation. Magdalena Hein led empathetically through the five-hour event - always keeping the BarCamp participants in mind.

Conclusion: Despite the physical distance, a very close exchange between the zdi community

After five intensive hours in the web conference, all participants were satisfied: In a total of eleven sessions, the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories exchanged ideas, planned new projects together and gave the zdi state office fresh ideas. In the end, it was clear to most: Despite the physical distance caused by Corona, the zdi-BarCamp enabled a very close and personal exchange between the zdi community.

The zdi regional office says "Thank you!" to everyone who took part in the zdi BarCamp and ventured into the Internet with us. It was a great day with you!

The first digital zdi BarCamp in pictures:

Would you like even more BarCamp? Click here for the zdi BarCamp 2019.

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