Education between Humboldt and McJob

"Who would not want to sit at this conference table?" With this question the symposium on new media education at the University of Hamburg kicked off last Friday.


Following the description of the organizers, the title "Bildung im Neuen Medium" referred to 15 years of discussion about the "new medium." The singular "medium" could have been interpreted as a reference to the Internet but that was not made explicit.

"New media," in an anglophone context is often understood as a paradigm pointing to a shifting target rather than a specific emerging technology, exploring processes that accompany the emergence of any "new" media, from the telegraph and film to the Internet.

This intensive two-day interdisciplinary symposium was followed by one a one-day workshop. The focus of the symposium was not on educational tool building but rather on the broader implications that discourses in new media education (nme) exert on fields like cultural studies, the arts, communications, media theory, informatics, and the history of culture. The workshop provided a platform to introduce educational technologies. Arriving in Hamburg I wandered through its streets under dark skies. Graffiti on campus called for a strike against the introduction of student fees. One slogan outside the cafeteria read, "Enjoy your lunch. What do the student fees taste like?" The students looked relaxed and untroubled. The fact that women make up the vast majority at most German universities was apparent also in the crowded campus cafe.