© A. Etges/Mercator-Institut


Communities of Practice NRW for Innovative Teacher Education

According to the international comparative study ICILS (International Computer and Information Literacy Study), merely a small number of teachers in Germany regularly take part in staff development courses on topics concerning digitalization. In teacher education programmes, digital media are mostly offered only as an option (Monitor Lehrerbildung, 2018). Moreover, school heads describe the competences of their teaching staff in this area as low on average (Schwanenberg, Klein & Walpuski, 2018).

This is where the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)-wide project COMeIN (Communities of Practice NRW for Innovative Teacher Education) comes in. In this project, actors in research, teacher training and schools develop concepts and products to promote the digital skills of teachers. Experts and decision-makers in all three phases of teacher training, different school subjects and topics collaborate for this purpose in so-called Communities of Practice (CoP).

In the CoP German as a Second Language the Mercator Institute cooperates with Bielefeld University. Together, the project team focuses on language education as a cross-sectional task in school and teaching, considering Content and Language Integrated Learning settings in all subjects as the central field of action.

In this context, they address digitalization on the level of teachers’ education and training with the aim of examining how to focus on digital skills and language education competences combined. The aim is to determine which competences teachers need in order to effectively use digital resources in Content and Language Integrated Learning lessons. Furthermore, concepts will be developed for how to implement these contents as blended learning formats in the NRW-wide mandatory German as a second language modules and the German as a second language continuing education courses.

On the one hand, the objective of the CoP is to link professionally and scientifically grounded digital formats on language education in all phases of teacher training and to expand them into a coherent overall offering. On the other hand, new concepts and products will be developed by accessing digital resources and digitalizing professional resources. NRW-wide accessibility of the products is to be achieved via a COMeIN-meta-portal which will be open to all actors in the specific educational contexts. Another research goal of the CoP is to create a competence profile for future teachers which combines digital skills and competences regarding German as a second language.

At a glance


The aim of the overall project is to promote digital competences of teachers. The research groups of the Mercator Institute and Bielefeld University focus in this regard on the promotion of digital skills in the context of teaching German as a second language and Content and Language Integrated Learning.


Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung


all twelve teacher-training universities of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) 
Ministry of Schools and Education NRW
Ministry of Culture and Science NRW 
The governments of the five districts of teacher education in NRW (Arnsberg, Detmold, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Münster)
QUA-LIS: Agency for Support and Quality of the State Institute of Schools

Funded by

Federal Ministry of Education and Research


March 2020 - December 2023

Project management - COMeIN

Prof. Dr. Isabell van Ackeren (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Project management - CoP German as a Second Language

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Roth (Mercator Institute)

Prof. Dr. Udo Ohm (Bielefeld University)

Project team

Dr. Christoph Gantefort (Mercator Institute)

Janna Gutenberg (Mercator Institute)

Anne Wernicke (Bielefeld University)