© HKW, Käthe Wenzel

In the 1950s, the CDU embraced the slogan, “No experiments!” But in the following two decades, society demanded change. School and educational policy worldwide experimented with new ideas. The radical gesture of that era has long since faded. But education must always question itself, even today.

Exhibitions such as Education Shock or The Whole Earth provide insights into old and new educational experiments. In the 1960s, the Whole Earth Catalog collected environmentally friendly products for the counterculture. Steve Jobs considered it the bible of his generation. The Catalog proclaimed: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” It’s in this spirit that Cultural Education works on new ideas. In Connected Learning, students develop their own digital learning proposals together with professionals and friends. The real-life laboratory takes a close look at neighborhoods, schools and stages.

Two people are sitting next to each other at a table. A third person is also visible at the edge of the picture. On the table in front of them are various fruits and vegetables. The food is wired by the persons with crocodile clips and cables. The cables, in turn, are connected to the power grid.

© Karl Heinz Jeron

Many of the past experiments turned out to be moving on the wrong track. But even a failed experiment is a good experiment.

Here you will find further material on the topic. Translations of original English versions into German are linked separately under (Ger.).

Lectures and talks about experiments in education can be found as part of, for example, Education Shock, such as Tom Holert’s thoughts about experimentalization of childhood and schools, discussed by Mark Terkessidis, Gregor Harbusch and Monika Mattes.

In his lectures Politics of Hope (Ger.) and The Politics of Forms and the Forms of Politics, Arjun Appadurai designs new options for learning and negotiating (with commentary by Carmen Mörsch) (2017).

Experiments about endurance tests for students and others, by Käthe Wenzel & Street University and in the context of a digital hike (2021), which Sarah Wenzinger creates as a virtual expedition to places of learning around the world. This is followed by a variety of experimental talk formats, such as on cities and politics, in play and in earnest in the program accompanying the exhibition The Most Dangerous Game (2018).

Selected reading from the HKW series Positionen (in German only)

Schule in Bewegung, by Josephine Papke Dekolonisiert euch!, by Sandeep Bhagwati Schulen mit Blackbox. Drei Fragen zur Sicherheit digitaler Lernräume, by Thomas Meyer

As well as the publication Education Shock, which compiles worldwide experiments on architecture and educational reforms from the 1960s and ’70s.