Published: 20th February 2021
Kids, achieve Einstein-level awesomeness with Goethe-Institut's Digital Kinderuniversity
Free, fun and fresh, Digital Kinderuniversity tries to cater to those curious students who don't want to wait to get older and take to German. It's for those who want to be introduced to the language
Are you ready for a fun-filled learning journey with an animated Prof Einstein, and his helpers Sophie Schlau and JOWO, the robot? Digital Kinderuniversity has made all this happen! Created by Goethe-Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, the lessons on this portal are now available in Hindi too! But wait, we did not even get to the awesome part yet. Students between 8 to 12 years will even get to learn German words. Don't panic! It's just about introducing German words so that the child is familiar with them. And when they are familiar, they can catch the lesson again in German.
Humankind, nature and technology are the three subjects with 30 videos and 250 interactive experiences are what they are offering, interactive being the keyword here. Expanding on this, Dr Berthold Franke, Director Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi says, "There are various interactive task formats like drag and drop, memory task, multiple-choice and so on. The student gets immediate feedback and can attempt a task with unlimited time on their hands." So, of course, we were curious to know more. So we quizzed Dr Franke, who is also Regional Director South Asia of Goethe-Institut, to know more about this initiative.
Dr Berthold Franke | (Pic: Goethe-Institut)
1. Tell us about how the response has been for Digital Kinderuniversity been elsewhere. What continues to set it apart from the various online resources available that help kids learn German?
Digital Kinderuni is presently visited by young learners in around 100 countries worldwide and the response is really good. Besides India, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Germany are among the top five countries. The Kinderuni platform enables students to learn STEAM terminology in German and not just words for daily life, which makes Kinderuni a unique platform for young students. If one already has a basic knowledge of the German language, then what Kinderuni provides to these learners is not just building up on their language skills, but also leads them towards in-depth content and language-integrated learning.
2. Before it was launched in India, were there any tweaks made to suit the Indian audience?
Kinderuni has universal topics, which also gives students a platform to interact at the same level despite geographical boundaries. But yes, certainly there were some adaptations required, especially in the tasks, for example. about Indian rivers or plantations.
Example of tasks | (Pic: Goethe-Institut)
3. How long did it take to work on the Hindi version? What other Indian languages are you working on, if any?
It took around four months to work on the Hindi version. It wasn’t a mere translation from German to Hindi, there were many factors taken into consideration like the relevant choice of terms and language for the target group. Synchronised dubbing, creating online tasks and teaching material did require a lot of hard work. We are working on Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
4. Do tell us more about the elements of gamification in the course and give us a few examples to understand it better.
Kinderuni has adapted the key elements of games like designing, action or activity, fun and applied them via badges and levels. After completion of every task, a Kinderuni student collects badges. For every lecture, there are four badges to be collected (three badges are based on content and one badge is for the keywords in German). After completing a certain number of lectures, a student goes to the next level, from a student to a Bachelor to Masters and eventually achieves the level of Professor Einstein.
Earn your badge | (Pic: Goethe-Institut)
5. When it comes to learning the basics of German, do tell us how useful Digital Kinderuniversity has been. What are the challenges you have faced and overcome in this regard?
For the students with no prior knowledge of German, the students can learn German words at A1 level. For the students with basic understanding, they can learn words at A2 level. In Kinderuni, the focus is more on STEAM Content.
For more on them, check out kinderuni.goethe.de