didacta 2017: Pointing the way ahead for the educational year

04.09.2017 - 08:45

A key subject was digitisation / Good marks for the world's largest educational trade fair in Stuttgart

The world's largest educational trade fair, didacta 2017, drew to a very successful close on Saturday. Covering an area of more than 75,000 square metres 860 exhibitors from 47 countries presented the latest trends for schools, universities and extra-mural education. The comprehensive spectrum ranged from traditional teaching aids, multimedia presentation and information technology to equipment and furnishing systems and basic and further education. Aside from subjects like structure change and integration, discussion mainly focused on new possibilities of imparting knowledge and skills.

With more than 1,500 well-attended events, didacta was not only a trade fair, but also one of the key platforms for continuous education. Its motto "Education is Future" could therefore not be more apt according to a delighted Prof. Dr. mult. Wassilios E. Fthenakis, President, Didacta Verband e.V. "Practitioners, researchers, politicians and parents engaged in an intensive discussion on how to tackle the challenges in the German educational system. This mutual exchange between all education stakeholders will bring us a step closer to our goal of greater educational equality and quality." Wilmar Diepgrond, Chairman, Verband Bildungsmedien e.V., praised didacta for its well-attended events and consistently high public interest as "pointing the way ahead for the 2017 educational year".

didacta 2017 "in the spirit of digital change"

On the five trade fair days the organisers recorded more than 85,000 visitors whose main interests focused on teaching and work aids (53%) and learning aids and school books (47%). Strong growth was reported in the digital media sector where demand rose by seven to a total of 34 per cent, thus topping visitor interest in specialist literature and publications (31%) and equipment/furnishing systems (29%). "didacta 2017 was touched by the spirit of the digital age", said Reinhard Koslitz, Chief Manager Didacta Verband e.V. commenting on this trend. "The fair offered a wide range of fascinating innovative teaching solutions. The educational industry is ready for the challenges of the future."

Against the background of a much deplored shortage of qualified professionals, digitisation is increasing in significance, particularly in vocational education: "As fair organiser, this is an especially important subject for us", explained the CEO and President of Messe Stuttgart, Ulrich Kromer von Baerle. "The news from many quarters is of acute bottlenecks in this sector. Digital technology is meanwhile firmly established even in traditional trades bastions. We believe that we addressed this development adequately in our 'Education and Training' topic area."

Wide-ranging interest in products

Exhibitor feedback confirms this: "The classroom of the future is digital – didacta 2017 showed this impressively", said Dorothee Mohaupt, Product Marketing Manager/Digital Skills at Google. "From the first, we were delighted by the large number of visitors and wide-ranging interest in our products for teaching staff and school goers." Overall, exhibitors were very happy with didacta 2017: "Positive ratings for the quality of advice and contacts at the didacta were well-deserved", remarked Silke Stegner, Manager Marketing, Sales and Product Management of ASS Einrichtungssysteme. "Visitors spent 30 to 45 minutes on our stand – I've never experienced that before at any other trade fair. Amazing! We couldn't be happier."

High visitor quality, growing internationality

This success was based not least on consistent visitor quality: 16 per cent were key movers in making buying and procurement decisions, 37 per cent played a role in the decision-making process; 23 per cent held advisory capacities. Once again, teachers constituted the largest visitor group at 30 per cent, followed by educators (19%) and civil servants/employees in education management or teacher further education (14%). The Top 3 sectors were general education schools (40%), nursery schools/day nurseries (21%) and vocational schools (15%). Slight rises were recorded in authorities/public institutions, adult education, services/training/advice and further education.

In terms of draw area didacta remained more or less the same: a good half of the visitors came from up to 100 kilometres away, 46 per cent were from further afield. After Baden-Württemberg, the largest visitor group came from Bavaria, having risen slightly to 14 per cent, putting them ahead of Hesse, Rhineland Palatinate and NRW. didacta is also becoming more international: delegations from China, Russia, Italy and South-east Asia came to gain an overview of the wide variety on offer and establish new contacts. A clear indication of increasing internationalisation on the education market is also the growing number of foreign companies. In 2017 they occupied more than double the exhibition space than previous editions of the education trade fair.

Strong market position

On the whole, didacta succeeded in retaining its strong market position: 61 per cent of visitors said that they did not go to other similarly focused trade fairs for information, a steady 95 per cent already plan to attend the next didacta in Stuttgart. Almost all (99%) would recommend didacta. Consequently, the education trade fair visitors ratings remained at a constant high of two (2.0). 

What the exhibitors said

Dorothee Mohaupt, Product Marketing Manager/Digital Skills, Google:
Google had its own stand at didacta for the first time.
Along with our partners from Stiftung Lesen and Fraunhofer IAIS we presented our "Google Expeditions" and "Open Roberta". "From the first, we were delighted by the large number of visitors and wide-ranging interest in our products for teaching staff and school goers." The classroom of the future is digital – didacta 2017 showed this impressively.

Gabriela Carmanns, Sales Manager Ernst Klett Verlag:
This year's education trade fair was another good opportunity for Ernst Klett Verlag and its authors and authoresses to exchange ideas in depth with teachers from Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hessen and Saarland. Our new products and events focusing on educational schemes, language courses or the new digital "eBook pro" solutions for school goers were very well received.

Anton Pöppel, Sales Manager Bavaria, DUSYMA:
We had a very busy time with visitors to our stand. Interest was high, visitors spent time with us and wanted detailed advice. Thanks to our fair discounts, sales on the stand were also very brisk. And I am also looking forward to good post trade fair business. All in all, we are very happy with how things went at didacta 2017.

Michaela Halt, PR and Communication, LEGO education:
didacta is hugely important to us, which is why we come here every year. This is where we meet our target audience, head teachers and teaching staff. Interest was very high again in innovative teaching materials which are both proven and effective. We of course also benefit from the fact that LEGO is a brand many know from their own childhood days.

Mirko Jänicke, Key Accountant Manager, Wehrfritz:
Our expectations of didacta 2017 were certainly fulfilled; we came and found exactly what we were looking for. Stuttgart is always good as a venue: the trade fair attracts a lot of interested visitors who are receptive to new concepts. We held a number of stimulating professional talks and are satisfied with this year's didacta in Stuttgart.

Dr. Michael Pries, Head of the Autostadt Education Department:
Our products met with lively demand. We were able to demonstrate our educational remit and hold a number of in-depth discussions. Stuttgart offers a superb, friendly atmosphere for didacta, fostering a positive exchange of ideas among professionals. In my eyes, creating this special situation at a trade fair is a huge achievement.

Hans Lange, Head of Public Relations, Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Baden-Württemberg:
Our Info Centre was very busy. Visitors showed great interest and were delighted with the range of our advice. We recorded strong demand for top subjects like digitisation and integration, while current educational schemes were another important point of interest. Our around 60 events were well received, among them the "transparent classroom" was especially popular.

Silke Stegner, Manager Marketing, Sales and Product Management, ASS: 
Positive ratings for the quality of advice and contacts at the didacta were well-deserved. Visitors spent 30 to 45 minutes on our stand – I've never experienced that before at any other trade fair. Amazing! We use didacta as an image trade fair to explain our concepts, and it worked exceptionally well. We are very satisfied.

Stefanie Hollberg, Head of the Federal Nutrition Centre, IN FORM:
We focused on presenting three different subject areas:
nutritional education, care and exercise. And we hit our mark. We reached a lot of people, who although sensitised, were not quite sure about how to go about putting certain topics into practice. We noticed a high demand from educators and teachers and we received many requests and suggestions from that quarter. We really appreciate this exchange of ideas.

Christoph Müssner, Managing Director Lucas-Nülle:
We wanted to appeal to two different target audiences here, namely trainers and young innovation drivers. And we reached both. They came with a firm intention; decision-makers from industry and people in charge of education with specific projects in mind. We were able to supply the answers on how to optimally integrate Industry 4.0 into vocational education. We were also very satisfied with visitor frequency.

Dr. Christine Autenrieth, Managing Director Binogi:
We met with a great deal of receptiveness to the subject of integration in school life, and talked to the right people from political, administrative and teaching circles. I also greatly appreciate that didacta offers a comprehensive range for schools and the latest educational trends. The trade fair lets us gain a clear picture of the market. We are very satisfied.

You can download the text file and trade fair photos in the Internet at

www.messe-stuttgart.de/didacta/journalisten

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