This article presents substantial results from two projects that deal with teaching and learning with digital media in basic and higher education and offers a new perspective on the active role of technology in learning processes. The first case draws on the project “Roberta—girls conquer robotics,” which was launched by the Fraunhofer Institute (AIS) with the aim to help promote girls’ interest in sciences, mathematics and technology. It suggests a new pedagogical approach towards the use of robotics in education and discusses how didactics and technology (LegoMindstorms) interact and how the character of robotics itself plays an important role here, such as it already comes along as gendered material. The second case focuses on distance education teaching methods in childcare management. The space left for practitioners in Higher Education is either to embrace the new media or to watch its inevitable unfolding. We take a critical stance towards that perspective and suggest that the shape and learning effect of new media in higher education is contested and evolves in communities of practice. No technologies are neutral and it is more appropriate to speak of technological and societal features as interactively fostering e-learning processes through distributed actions (Rammert, 2002).
Informed by a constructivist learning approach and the principles of gender mainstreaming, these two cases draw conclusions towards general educational concepts for digital media. If carefully used as a didactical actor, information communication technology not only suit learners’ interest in technological messiness but enables them for a technologically mediated life instead of just feeling overwhelmed. Digital media can therefore serve as media for general education in the more comprehensive sense of developing personality, professional identity and agency.