Outstanding learning model of the future
Prof. Dr. Stefan Selke has been awarded the Wolfgang Heilmann Prize 2021 for his future-oriented project „NeoUniversity“. The prize is awarded by the Integrata Foundation for „outstanding contributions to the implementation of modern information technology for a humane use“. According to the foundation, the award is given to „visionaries and pioneers who develop ambitious but feasible designs for the future of a digitalised society.“
Prof. Selke teaches sociology and societal change at Furtwangen University and holds a research professorship on „Transformative and Public Science“. He has been researching the area of tension between humans and technology for over 20 years. This is also reflected in his own career – after starting out his professional life in aerospace engineering, Selke switched to sociology, and his doctoral thesis, completed in 2002, dealt with how much technology humans need to recognise themselves – at that time, he examined private snapshot photograhies as memory media. Since then, a great deal has changed in terms of technology. At latest since Corona, most people are no longer strangers to digital transformation. „People now log their lives digitally; fitness watches, for example, record heart rhythms or sleep habits,“ he explains. Selke has also continued his research on these topics and about ten years ago became one of the first scientists in Germany to devote himself to the topic of „public science“. In the meantime, he sees himself as an interdisciplinary „border crosser.“ „The borderless and complex problems of the future don’t fit neatly into disciplines,“ says Selke, „so we have to learn to stop thinking only in strict categories such as ‚technology‘ or ’social science and humanities‘.“
With NeoUniversity, his „educational utopia for the post-Corona society,“ Stefan Selke has developed a future blueprint for a synthesis of human and artificial intelligence. For his conceptual model he has addressed changes in the education system – „learners today have less and less time,“ says Selke. In his utopia, educational avatars equipped with artificial intelligence enable more individualised, holistic and sustainable learning processes. „It’s not about doing away with lecture halls in the future,“ Selke asserts, „but about further developing robust learning venues for the future, using connectivity and AI for learners – especially outside universities.“ Against the backdrop of his research activities, Selke also wants his social utopia based on contemporary technologies to be understood by scientists from all disciplines as an invitation for communication.
Selke overtook four competitors for the Wolfgang Heilmann Prize in the final round. The prize, endowed with €10,000, was presented to him virtually by the patron Prof. Dr. Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Federal Minister of Justice.
Contact for scientific information:
Prof.Dr. Stefan Selke