FWU is Germany's leading producer of media for schools and other educational organisations. FWU was founded in 1950 as a non-for-profit corporation, with the 16 German "Länder" as shareholders.
FWU produces 16mm films, videos, slides, educational software and CD-ROMs as well as internet applications. FWU keeps on stock approximately 2.000 titles for almost all school subjects and cross-area education, as well as fictional movies for children and the youth.
All productions are accompanied by comprehensive handbooks for teachers and educators. Every year about 100 new titles are produced.
Beneath the production of media it is a major objective for FWU to provide independent information and consultancy on all pedagogic and technical questions regarding educational media, both on linear and interactive media concepts and the use of telecommunication. Current emphasis lies on dynamic navigation techniques for supporting learning and teaching as a process.
FWU is engaged in pilot projects on media-pedagogic issues. FWU is co-ordinator of several national projects and programmes and a service centre for public and private institutions.
National projects have been or are still:
The objectives of IBEC were the design and production of exemplary pedagogical software. FWU co-ordinated a number of sub-projects of the German Länder with the focus to develop criteria for the design and functionality of pedagogical software. The software produced under these criteria by private companies was tested at schools and has afterwards been distributed by FWU.
COMENIUS I and COMENIUS II (1994-1998)
Together with non-pedagogical partners (German Telekom, Ponton European Media Lab, Condat) FWU designed, developed and tested a pedagogical platform for communication and collaboration. While COMENIUS I still included proprietary elements, the design of COMENIUS II was fully compatible to internet and available through any browser. The test environment was built up in Berlin, integrating five schools and the Landesmedienzentrum (Berlin Media Centre). The development of pedagogical concepts and the support of the field trial was also in the responsibility of FWU. COMENIUS was run as an R&D project by German Telecom (Deutsche Telekom Berkom); at present COMENIUS is part of the Berliner Bildungsserver (Berlin Educational Server).
Main objectives of SEMIS were the testing of existing multimedia programs for the use in schools, the development of criteria for the evaluation and development of multimedia applications and the development and field trial of an exemplary pedagogical multimedia system with the topic of the Alps. The production took a lot of consideration on the navigation techniques, the interactive elements and the adaptation of the software. SEMIS was supported by BMBF (German Ministry for Education, Sciences, Research and Technology).
FWU together with four German Media Institutes and the Fraunhofer Society organise the project NuBB (use of wide-band networks between Media Institutes). The project is supported by the German Telekom Berkom and the DFN-Society. The objective is to realise visions for the work of media centres in times of technical innovation.
The general objective of the SEMIK programme is the systematic integration of media, information and communication technologies into the processes of learning and teaching. FWU is programme co-ordinator of SEMIK, responsible for the information flow and the collaboration between 24 sub-projects spread all over the 16 German Länder. Again, SEMIK is being supported by BMBF.
Since 1998, FWU is partner in the EC project:
Within EURODELPHES partners from three European countries (France, Italy, Germany) and with different business fields (archive providers, publishers, scientists/pedagogues, software developers) are in collaboration to design, to develop and to test a value added chain, that allows teachers and students to use multimedia handbooks in history lessons. In this project, FWU is the German scientific and pedagogical partner.
Dr. Uwe L. Haass
Dr Haass obtained a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from Karlsruhe University in Germany and a PhD for his work on computerised image analysis from Colorado State University, USA. He continued working as a researcher in the field of robotics and computer vision for the Fraunhofer Society in Germany. In 1985 he joined the European Commission as a Project Officer in the ESPRIT program, responsible for supporting projects in Artificial Intelligence, Speech Recognition, and Data Base Systems. In 1990 he was given the post of the General Manager for the Bavarian Research Center of Knowledge-based Systems (FORWISS). Since November, 1997 he is the Director of FWU, Germanys largest producer of media for schools and an active partner in the development of educational multimedia contents and systems.