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The ifib

Media Integration: Technology Development Requires Organizational Embeddedness

Our research activities are characterized by the critical questioning of technology development, the emphasis on its social and organizational embedment and thus on its shaping. We research socio-technical innovations and involve different stakeholders in the process (co-creation). This way of working is, in the context of digital transformation today, as relevant as it was when we were founded in 2002.

Our work focuses on how organizations such as schools, public authorities or companies adopt and use digital technologies. We have coined the term ‘media integration’ for this purpose. It refers to the technical, organizational, legal and social embedment in all structures and processes of the respective organization. Integration rarely proceeds uniformly and smoothly. We define and analyze relevant contradictions and hurdles set by institutional, legal and financial frameworks.

We identify and explore organizational gaps

The questions related to the integration of technologies are manifold. What should they be used for? What are the conditions or requirements? What skills are needed to use them? How can the skills be promoted in a way that is appropriate for the target group? These questions form the basis for recommendations for meaningful and feasible technology development. Nevertheless, projects fail again and again because solutions for complex problems are offered that are too short-sighted, and the interactions with organizational development are underestimated. In order to close these gaps, we work together with all parties involved to develop suitable solution models.

Demand-orientated research along the entire educational chain

The application fields of our research address people of all ages and their usage needs: children, pupils, trainees, students, employees, older and elderly people. They also relate to institutions and organizations: day care centres, all types of schools, universities, companies, public administration, and other institutions with educational relevance.

From basic research to science-based consulting

Our research and the methods applied in it cover a wide range, from basic and applied research to the evaluation of a wide variety of development projects. Our basic philosophy follows a value-adding innovation cycle. It ensures that the results of our work are anchored in the relevant fields of application, and made available to the scientific community and all those involved in the project through publications. In addition, our research results feed the services of our subsidiary, ifib consult GmbH, which enables science-based consulting at the highest level.

Knowledge transfer with the University of Bremen

We co-operate closely with researchers at the University of Bremen: the Working Group on Information Management (AGIM) at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI). In addition, as a founding member, we are associated with the Data Science Center. As part of the scientific focus group Minds, Media, Machines we contribute to the future-oriented research results.

Research with interdisciplinary theories and methods

With our interdisciplinary research, we continuously combine theoretical approaches from the fields of computer science with economics, social sciences and education. In this way, we create a foundation within our application fields that puts the users of digital technology at the centre of our research and evaluations.

This interdisciplinary approach has proven its worth and is reflected in the methods we use. On the one hand, we use established empirical research methods such as surveys, interviews, or participant observation. On the other, digitization and mediatization open up new possibilities. Methods such as log file analyses, learning analytics, data and text mining, automated video and image analyses or network analyses, as well as informatics methods for machine learning or human-computer interaction round off our portfolio.

ifib consult GmbH provides science-based consulting services

We provide targeted, context-related and process-specific consulting services through our subsidiary, ifib consult GmbH. Continuous research transfer enables us to develop applicable solutions at the interface between science and practice. We are commissioned to do this by the public sector, regional authorities, associations, educational institutions and companies.

Excellent research since 2003

ifib was founded on December 19, 2002 and started its work as a non-profit limited liability company at the beginning of 2003. The shareholder of ifib is the Association for the Promotion of Scientific Research in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen e.V. (VFwF), which is supported by the University of Bremen and the Department for Science and Ports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. We receive basic funding from the Department, and our third-party funding ratio is approximately 80 per cent. An eight-member advisory board, supported by three advisory guests, continuously oversees our work. The advisory board is composed as follows:

Chair

  • State Councillor Dr. Martin Hagen, Senator for Finance of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen

Scientists

  • Prof. Dr. Ines Mergel, Professor of Public Administration at the Institute for Politics and Public Administration, University of Konstanz
  • Prof. Dr. Mandy Schiefner-Rohs, Professor of General Education with a focus on school pedagogy, Technical University of Kaiserslautern
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp, Professor of Communication Science, University of Bremen

Practice and associations

  • Thore Kühn, Institute for Quality Development at Schools Schleswig-Holstein (IQSH)
  • Dr. Emese Stauke, District of Rotenburg, Office for Digitization

Regional institutions

  • Detlef von Lührte, Senator for Children and Education of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Department 1 "Central Services”
  • Daniela Berger, Senator for Finance of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Department 42

Advisory guests of the advisory board

  • Prof. Dr. Jutta Günther, Vice Chancellor for Research, Young Academics and Transfer, University of Bremen
  • Carolin Balzer, Senator for Science, Health and Consumer Protection of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
  • Petra Perplies, State Institute for Schools of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (LIS)