Unique Profile Areas

We are focussing our activities in student education and research on three complementary so-called profile areas, which are

  1. Education in a democratic society,
  2. Educational processes in the digital world,
  3. STEM in a culture of sustainability. 

1. Education in a democratic society

Democratic societies provide people with extensive and multifaceted opportunities. At the same time, however, they confront their citizens with challenges and require them to become involved. Against this background, key educational goals such as the ability to make differentiated judgements and to act in plural contexts as well as the need to constantly expand our capacity to participate have become the focus of attention.

Our "Education in a Democratic Society" profile area addresses this complex set of issues. It pools and initiates projects dealing with the current challenges of democratic societies from an interdisciplinary perspective and addressing the possibilities of education promoting participation, tolerance, and solidarity. The profile thus acts as a communication platform and hub.

Key topics

Key thematic and research areas include values, the concept of man, life orientation in a plural society, life designing and discourse skills, ways of enabling political and cultural participation, educating for democracy and ways of political enlightenment, educational equality, equal opportunity, integration and inclusion, prevention of anti-Semitism as well as practical approaches to dealing with "alternative facts", fake news, and populism.

Through research, development, and consultation, the profile also seeks to respond to the need for development and transformation in educational and cultural institutions, which has become even more apparent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Knowledge, attitude, and the willingness to get involved – all these are part of an education towards democracy.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Weihs
Institut für katholische Theologie
Educating for democracy is the responsibility of all people involved in school education. In both research and teaching, the issue must be taken seriously, dealt with in an interdisciplinary way, and established at institutional level in the long term.
Jun. Prof. Dr. Sebastian Engelmann
Institut für Allgemeine und Historische Erziehungswissenschaft

Coordination and contact

mittwochs 10.00-11.45h u.n.V
(präsent oder online, ich bitte um vorherige Absprache per Mail)
in der vorlesungsfreien Zeit nach dem SoSe 2024:
Donnerstag, 8. August 2024 10.00-12.00 Uhr
Mittwoch, 4. September 2024 10.00-12.00 Uhr
Mittwoch, 2. Oktober 2024 10.00-12.00 Uhr
Mittwoch, 09. Oktober 2024 14.00-15.00 Uhr
und nach Vereinbarung

2. Educational Processes in the Digital World

The digital age presents both teachers and learners with new challenges, but it also offers new opportunities. For example, using digital tools, content can be made more adaptive, motivating, and comprehensible. Planning, designing, and implementing digital educational formats in a way that promotes learning requires a cross-disciplinary perspective combining pedagogical and technical competences in both research and teaching. The Institute of Informatics and Digital Education, in cooperation with Teaching Methodology, is the central point of contact in this regard, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to acquire and deepen the necessary digital skills.

At the same time, digitisation requires a transformation of the organisational environment in which digital innovations are embedded at the various stages of the teaching and learning processes. To support these efforts, our university is currently running projects focusing on the development of the students’ digital competences and the further development of digital examination formats.

Key topics

The profile area is intended to promote interdisciplinary exchange, cooperation with colleagues within the institution, and the strengthening of cooperative relationships at both national and international level. The profile area also seeks the dialogue with schools in order to be able to draw conclusions from their experiences with digitalisation and to prepare future teachers in the best possible way for the rapidly changing real-world teaching environment. The key topics in research and teaching include:

  • Researching and teaching how to optimise digitally supported educational processes.
  • Considering the opportunities and challenges of developing and implementing digital teaching and learning formats.
  • Discussing ethical, anthropological, epistemological, and societal issues in the context of deploying digital technologies in education.
  • Designing and researching the impact of the latest technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and related tools.
  • Looking at the effects of digital education on cognitive, emotional, social, motivational, and metacognitive variables in a holistic way.
Competencies required for active and autonomous participation in a digital world must be included as an integrative part in the curricula of all subjects. In this context, it is imperative to support prospective teachers in developing and enhancing their media literacy as well as their competencies in media education in the best possible way on the basis of sound empirical findings.
Prof. Dr. phil. Nadine Anskeit
Institut für deutsche Sprache und Literatur
Developing, using, and analysing digital teaching and learning formats requires an interdisciplinary approach deploying technology not for its own sake, but in a learner-centred way. Acquiring the necessary competencies required to achieve this goal is a central building block in Teacher Education, linking Educational Sciences even more closely with the individual subjects. In doing so, it is necessary to take into account all levels – from basic cognitive processing to organisational integration to societal implications.
Alexander Skulmowski
Institut für Informatik und digitale Bildung
Considering digitalisation from the perspective of individual educational processes involves analysing the opportunities and possible issues from the central viewpoint of the self-determination and dignity of individuals in open societies that aim for democratisation and sustainability as well as taking into account the ethical, anthropological, and socio-theoretical implications before implementing any measures.
Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Annette M. Stroß
Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft mit Schwerpunkt in außerschulischen Feldern

Coordination and contact

3. STEM in a culture of sustainability

This profile area aims to pool activities in teaching and research in the field of the STEM subjects (MathematicsInformatics, Natural Sciences, Technical Education) and sustainability in order to contribute to addressing and tackling the complex challenges and issues of our time from different perspectives and against the background of our areas of expertise – Teaching Methodology and Educational Sciences. In this profile area, we work to establish sustainability at the university and to make sustainable developments visible.

We pool the activities of the Teaching and Learning Labs, in which our students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at an early stage, and present our research findings on STEM and sustainability to the public. Since the winter semester 2022/2023, we have been offering the lecture series “STEM in a Culture of Sustainability” once a semester. In this series, we invite external speakers who can provide new food for thought in the area of STEM and/or sustainability.

Key topics

In order to strengthen the culture of sustainability in the area of STEM, we develop and operate interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning Labs (TLL), in which students can explore how to act and design across disciplines and how to innovate in a socially responsible way.

Teaching and Learning Labs (TLL)

By cooperating with school classes and teachers, a strong link to practice is established and professional competence building is intensified. At the same time, students gain an insight into current areas of research, especially with a view to sustainable development. This is what we understand as our “third mission” in addition to the university's core tasks of research and teaching. 

Coordination and contact

Last updated: 16.01.2024
Content responsibility: webredaktion@ph-karlsruhe.de