Why the need for a new app?
The app is aimed at anyone who wants to find out more about the topic of data and about data use. We are having to learn to use more and more new technologies in our everyday lives. On the one hand, we are constantly leaving behind data traces which can be used and analysed. On the other hand, we use digital applications like voice recognition services or navigation systems on a daily basis without thinking anything of it. These applications are all based on an analysis of big data.
The aim of the app is to boost users’ data literacy in order to improve their safety in the digital world. The app explains how new data-based technologies work and how to be aware of who data are being shared with and how they can be protected.
Who can use the app?
The app is geared to all users – to technophiles who use digital innovations as a matter of course and to those who use the internet only sporadically. The content is written in easily comprehensible language.
How does the app work?
At the heart of the app is a virtual city which users are invited to discover. Various areas of our lives which are digitalised – work, mobility, health – are represented symbolically. Whenever users navigate towards a building in the city, like the railway station or a hospital, they enter a learning environment where they encounter realistic stories. At the same time, key terms used in the digital world are explained, such as big data, smart city and artificial intelligence (AI), and questions around data protection and data security are addressed. Just like in other online games, there are various levels which users move up into once they’ve worked through the content.
What content does the app teach?
The app is currently divided into four thematic areas: work, mobility, health and the knowledge base. In future iterations it will include thematic areas such as living and leisure time, energy and the environment, and education and participation.
The introduction, known as the Knowledge Base, is aimed at beginners and teaches basic terminology around new technologies. In the three other thematic areas of work, mobility and health, these terms and then reinforced with practical examples and stories. Topics range from security when working from home, to sensor technology and autonomous driving, to fitness apps and telemedicine.
Who’s behind the app?
The app is published by the German Adult Education Association. It is based on the principle of data economy. No personal data are stored and no user profiles or stages of learning are transmitted. That means that all of a user’s data stay on their own device and that it can be used without having to register and log in.
The app is an important element of the Digital Education Initiative which aims to promote data literacy at home or on the move. The Federal Chancellor supports the Initiative; she is the app’s patron.