Open Lab Event

Bringing digitalization and sustainability together. Developing future scenarios.

Open Lab Event in cooperation with the Futurium

March 25th, 2021, 17.00-19.00 CET, online - The results are currently being processed.

About the Open Lab Event

The Project aims to stimulate scientific, political, and civil discourse, both within the scope of the project and beyond and to complement the findings and outcomes with the help of the general public. In this Open Lab Event together with the Futurium we want to present the results of our research and complement them with your experiences about digitalisation and sustainability in two different fields:

  • Potential future scenarios for, challenges to, and drivers of a sustainable, digitalized transformation of schools.

  • Digital Participation as everyday practice of a commons oriented democratic urban/rural governance


1. joint opening panel (approx. 30 min)

2. group work in 2 separate tracks (approx. 60 min)

3. joint closing panel (approx. 30 min)

The event will be held in german.

The event has already taken place and the results are currently being processed.

Track 1: Potential future scenarios for, challenges to, and drivers of a sustainable, digitalized transformation of schools

Digitalization offers the chance to provide easier access to education and to individualize learning; hence, it thus contribute positively to an inclusive society in which everyone can better develop their individual potential. An unprecedented wealth of information, free software and educational offers (Open Educational Resources (OER)) allow learners to pursue their own interests in a self-determined way by using suitable structures, materials, and instruments.

However, this individualization also entails risks as the ability to competently handle new technologies and digital information is a central prerequisite for successful participation in society. Moreover, unevenly distributed participation opportunities, digital skills, and usage patterns ensure that social inequalities continue to grow (digital divide).

It is therefore important that schools provide the technical and organizational conditions necessary for a didactically meaningful use of digital media in the classroom. In addition, teachers must have the appropriate technical and media-didactic skills.

However, in order to enable students to shape changing circumstances in the future, it is important not to view digital skills as an isolated topic, but rather to combine leading educational concepts from the fields of sustainability and media education (future literacy). The ability to reflect, adopt new perspectives, and change behavior in a self-determined way is a key issue in the concept of Education for Sustainable Development. Only with both digital and sustainability skills can schools use new technologies as tools to shape a sustainable future and push digitalization itself in the direction of a sustainable society.

Schools therefore need to undertake fundamental changes in order to meet these challenges. The social and cultural changes triggered by digitalization and the demand for sustainable development must be incorporated into the entire school- and organizational development through a holistic understanding of transformation processes.

In this track, we want to ask about your experiences on the topic of digitization and sustainability in the context of school education. We want to give space to discuss ideas about what the necessary prerequisites and framework conditions are for a transformation of schools. The discussions will be guided by a vision of a digitalized, sustainable school in future.

Track 2: Towards Digital Participation as everyday practice of a commons oriented democratic urban/rural governance

Framed by the keyword “digital participation”, technical concepts that promote citizen engagement and participation create new opportunities to complement traditional formats such as information events, create low-threshold citizen participation and have the potential to make politics and its decisions more transparent.

There have been many hopes related to the potential of digital participation to contribute addressing some of the major societal challenges of this century in a just and broadly accepted way. Participatory approaches, both analogous or digital, have also been widely acknowledged as a backbone of sustainability transformations processes. We argue that the combination of the “digital experiences” during Covid-19, the launch of the European Green Deal as well as the multiple innovative tools and approaches that have been developed in the last couple of years create a unique window of opportunity to move digital participation for sustainability transformations to the next level, particularly tailored to the needs of different spatial in urban and rural areas as well as across spatial scales from local to international.

In this track we want to discuss how this window of opportunity could be used to fundamentally change existing governance systems and administrative practices that often have not yet the capacities to fully use the existing potentials given by digital means and advances in participatory governance approaches. The discussions will be guided by a vision of interconnected rural and urban communities in which digital participation is an everyday societal practice that enables continuous, commons oriented transformations in a just and inclusive way.


Daniel is professor for transdisciplinary sustainability research. His research interests include the development of the theoretical, methodological as well as procedural foundations of sustainability science and the cooperation and mutual learning between different scientific disciplines and between science and society.

Matthias is professor for Education for Sustainable Development at Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany and director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning. His strong passion is on research and teaching for sustainability with an emphasis on competence development, innovative learning settings and curriculum change.


Leuphana University Lüneburg, Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning and the Futurium Berlin (