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Building Fluency: Digitalisation: Why is it taking so long for Germany to go digital?

"Digitalization" has been a buzzword in German politics for years. Despite this, digitalization in Germany seems to be lagging behind other European countries. Why is this? What is being done to change this? And do people in Germany even want to go digital? In these materials we start to look at digitalization in Germany.



Let’s start with the image below; What do the pictures show? In the bottom left image we can see a fax machine – when was the last time that you used a fax machine? In the bottom right we can see that someone has no reception on their phone – is this something that you have ever experienced? If so, where was it?



Now, we’ll look at a short video on this topic, but before doing so, have a look at the vocabulary table below, it relates to the video and the topic in general. 



High speed broadband.

Mobile internet.

A fax machine.

A dead spot / a place with no reception.

Data protection.



Business / economy.

Public services.


Reception /  network.  


to be afraid of something.

to be skeptical of something.

a lack/shortage of something.

an aversion to something.





Mobiles Internet.

Ein Faxgerät.






Öffentliche Dienste.




Angst vor etwas haben.

vor etwas skeptisch sein.

einen Mangel an etwas.

eine Abneigung gegen etwas.




Now we’ll watch the video. Whilst watching the video try to answer the following questions;


  1. What proportion of businesses still use fax machines in Germany?

  2. According to the video, why is digitalization slower in Germany than in other countries?

  3. What are people’s attitudes to how quickly digitalization is happening in Germany?

  4. What examples of digitalization in schools do they give in the video, and are they effective?

  5. What role does Data Protection play in people’s opinions towards digitalization in Germany?

  6. How many people in Germany are concerned about radiation, and what do they think the radiation could do to them?




Carrying on the conversation; Having watched the video, let’s think about the following questions. These would form the basis of a more general discussion about digitalisation as part of a lesson, but also work well as the basis of a writing exercise.


1.        In your opinion, how is Germany doing in terms of digitalisation?

2.       The video is actually 4 years old, is it still up to date?

3.       How digital is your company? Is there room for improvement?

4.       What do you know about digitalisation in schools? How could this be improved?



These materials in PDF form can be downloaded below;

Digital transformation. Why is it taking so long for Germany to go digital
Download PDF • 350KB



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