International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V.

The Managing Board of the International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V. (IGSBi) strongly condemns the inhuman, violent war of aggression against Ukraine, which has been ordered by the Russian leadership; we are appalled by the suffering of the Ukrainian people and admire their struggle for peace and people’s right of self-determination.

Next Conference of IGSBi, 6th–8th of October, 2023, in Gdańsk (Poland): "Educational Media for Adults"

Whenever the term “educational media” is mentioned, people often only think of teaching/learning materials for schools. However, the term encompasses much more. This conference will focus specifically on educational media for adults, in relation to formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts. In historical and current approaches, educational media for adults shall be presented, analyzed and discussed in all their diversity – by various providers, in different political-social contexts and in relation to different target groups. This may refer to the broad variety of analogue and digital educational media. These educational media will be questioned above all as to whether and, if so, to what extent their addressing and their didactic-methodical presentation consider adults’ specific living conditions, learning biographies, learning styles, expectations and participation claims. Process-, product- and/or impact-related access to the selected educational media is expected, i.e. e.g. studies on the genesis, content and/or didactic-methodical design, use and dissemination of educational media for adults. Workshop reports on the production of educational media for adults are welcome.




A fee in support of the International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V. (30 €; members: 20 €) will be charged at the beginning of the conference.

New Publication on Primers Research

Learning to Read, Learning Religion. Catechism Primers in Europe from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries (2023). Ed. by Britta Juska-Bacher, Matthew Grenby, Tuija Laine & Wendelin Sroka. John Benjamins.


Catechism primers are inconspicuous but telling little books for children combining the teaching of reading skills and religious catechesis. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, they have been produced, disseminated and used in huge numbers in many regions of the world, in particular in Europe. Remarkably, similar texts appeared across the continent, spanning confessional traditions that were in other respects highly divergent. In different places, and across the whole period, different denominations used not only similar pedagogical and religious strategies, but also shared the same formats and iconography.


This volume, edited by scholars from Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom – among them three members of the International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V. –, is the result of a collaborative transnational and interdisciplinary effort including education, language teaching, children’s literature, book history, and religious studies. With contributions on seventeen European countries and regions, it sheds new light on a fascinating but largely neglected part of European cultural heritage, and, by establishing a comprehensive and authoritative summary of the field, offers fresh impetus for further transnational research.

Newsletter of the Reading Primers Special Interest Group

Just released: Newsletter No. 18 of the Reading Primers Special Interest Group (RP SIG)


Annual Conference 2022 in Würzburg (Germany): "Continuity and Change of Knowledge Stocks in Educational Media"

From October 7 to 9, 2022, the International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V. (IGSBi), which celebrated its 25th anniversary that year, held the annual conference in cooperation with the Chair for Didactics of German Language and Literature (Prof. Dr. Dieter Wrobel and Dr. Christine Ott) at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. The conference had the topic “Continuity and Change of Knowledge Stocks in Educational Media”. Looking from historical and topical perspectives, using explorative-empirical and systematic approaches, scientists, publishers and teachers from several European countries and from Sub-Sahara Africa dealt among others with the following questions:

  • the meaning of political constellations for the change of knowledge stocks in educational media, e.g. in the context of power system changes from or to monarchy, dictatorship and/or democratic constitution;
  • the relationship between societal conditions, e.g. the dualism between countryside and city, and related different knowledge stocks;
  • the change of content due to new (scientific) findings;
  • the transformation – or rather persistence – of knowledge due to media changes, e.g. the introduction of comic elements in textbooks or the shift from textbooks to instructional videos;
  • the influence of publishing houses for educational media on continuity and change of the imparted knowledge.

The contributions stimulated vivid discussions which were also continued outside of the official program.

While visiting the Research Center for Historical Educational Media at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität and on a tour of its current exhibition under the guidance of its director Dr. Ina Katharina Uphoff, many of the discussed topics became vivid and concrete.


The conference volume with many contributions from this conference will be available in 2023.

Symposium 2021 "The Corona Pandemic and Its Impact on Schools, Learning, and Educational Media"

On the 2nd of October, 2021, the International Society for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V. (IGSBi) held a Zoom-Symposium on the topic “The Corona Pandemic and Its Impact on Schools, Learning, and Educational Media”. Prof. PhD Fien Depaepe (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) gave an impressing overview of the state of research regarding “The Effectiveness of Technology-enhanced Learning Environments, especially in the Context of the Corona Pandemic, and Its Reception/Acceptance by Teachers and Students”. In the second keynote, PhD Stefania Carioli (University of Urbino, Italy) offered a good insight into the reactions and measures of the educational System in Italy (State, communalities, publishing houses). Subsequently, Dr. Maren Saiko reported about the experiences regarding production and distribution processes in a big German publishing house for educational media during the pandemic and presented some specific initiatives. Finally, four teachers from Germany and Estonia shared their teaching experiences during the pandemic with a special focus on the role and use of traditional and digital educational media. The contributions caused vivid and informative discussions.

Webinar 2021 "Nation, Nationalism and School in Contemporary Europe"

The common conference of IGSBi, Spes (Società di politica educazione e storia) and Spicae (Società internazionale per la storia comparata dell'educazione) in Parma, which had been scheduled for 2020 and which could not take place on-site due to the Corona Pandemic, was held on the 15th of March, 2021, in form of a compact webinar. The organization committee in Parma, Prof. Dr. Luciana Bellatalla and Prof. Dr. Piergiovanni Genovesi, had prepared a comprehensive program on the topics "Educational theories and didactical media", "Nation, Nationalism and Europe in primers and secondary history textbooks" and "Cultural, biological and racial stereotypes". The contributors from Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Russian Federation, Switzerland and The Netherlands presented a ten-minutes quintessence of longer lectures, which had been available for the registered participants on the internet before. The presentations provoked vivid discussions, rich in content. A publication of the contributions is projected.


New Publications

Luciana Bellatalla / Piergiovanni Genovesi / Eva Matthes / Sylvia Schütze (Eds.): Nation, Nationalism and Schooling in Contemporary Europe (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2022)

During the 19th century, up to the middle of the 20th century, the theme of national identity – and even more so of the absolute primacy of the nation – was firmly at the center of the educational projects of European states. Moreover, schools had and have been one of the fundamental instruments in the processes of nation building and, subsequently, in the establishment of nationalist perspectives, being used as a place of transmission of narratives aimed at legitimising the primacy of the nation, whether historically or ethnically based.

A significant undermining of the absolute primacy of the nation emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War. A widespread desire to reduce the scope of national sovereignty, to fight against the drifts of nationalism, took on a new consistency. The ideological struggle centered on the two blocs, which characterized the age of the Cold War, contributed to strongly circumscribing the political space of nationalism, but the fall of the Wall has opened up new spaces both for the role of the nation and for the phenomena of micro-nationalism and neo-nationalism.

Scholars of different European countries contribute in this volume to the reflection on the interrelation of nation(alism) and schooling with a special focus on educational media. This reflection is more urgent than ever and is central to the future social, civil, and cultural development.




Sonja Maria Meinlschmidt: Die Repräsentation von Heterogenität in Grundschulbüchern des (Heimat- und) Sachunterrichts. Bayern und Bremen im Ländervergleich. Eine qualitative Evaluation zur Vielfalt im Schulbuch (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2022)

Textbooks are a key instrument of teaching. Through the school as institution, they reach everybody, and the implied knowledge is often considered to be absolute. Currently, the educational system is confronted with new challenges, especially with regard to the diversity in German society. Primary schools, which are attended by children from all social classes, are particularly concerned with this heterogeneity. It is important that all children can identify with the content of the texts. Therefore, it is worthwhile to deal critically with knowledge stocks in textbooks. This volume deals with the diversity which is represented in primary school textbooks for Social Studies in the federal states Bavaria and Bremen. The focus lies on the dimensions “gender/sex” and “migration/ethnicity” and on their interrelationship. Along these lines, the author reveals both progress and desiderata and develops criteria for a heterogeneity-sensitive textbook.




Eva Matthes / Stefan T. Siegel / Thomas Heiland (Eds.): Lehrvideos – das Bildungsmedium der Zukunft? Erziehungswissenschaftliche und fachdidaktische Perspektiven (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2021)

The internet market for educational videos both on commercial platforms like YouTube and TikTok and on educational platforms is booming, and representative surveys show the growing importance of educational and explanatory videos in research and practice. These are increasingly used at university and school as well.

This volume comprises multidisciplinary perspectives on these educational media, which have been mostly neglected so far. There are still many open questions: What exactly are educational videos? What should we know about the providers of these educational media (for example explanatory videos on YouTube)? Do there exist any quality criteria for these videos? What kind of chances, challenges, limitations and possibly even dangers are connected with their use?

The aim of our volume is to make a contribution to answering these questions and to provide clarity and transparency. Therefore, it includes:

(1) fundamental articles which introduce to the subject matter,

(2) analyses of explanatory videos from domain-specific perspectives,

(3) contributions regarding the use of educational videos in teacher (further) training at university.




Oliver Mayer-Simmet: Offene Lehr-Lernmittel (OER) für den Geschichtsunterricht. Marktlage, Nutzungsmotive und fachspezifische Qualitätsanforderungen (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2021)

Educational media play a decisive role in teaching and learning processes. This refers also to the actually growing offerings of open educational resources (OER) for teachers and students. This leads to the question which quality characteristics are necessary to make OER didactically acceptable.

This volume deals with the phenomenon of OER for the teaching of History. In this respect, it engages in fundamental research and explores the topic for the first time for the didactics of History in Germany. It is oriented towards the already existing general-didactical research approach, which was developed in Augsburg (cf. Neumann and Fey, both 2015, in this series), and tries to “translate” it into the subject-related didactical thinking in History. The author looks at the offerings in the internet, analyses History teachers’ reasons for using OER, and presents a History-didactical instrument which may support History teachers in the critical revision OER.




Kristina Schippling: Zur Vermittlung von Film im Schulbuch. Eine diskursanalytische Studie zur pädagogischen Subjektivierung (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2021)

Films and media influence the everyday life of children and youth more strongly than ever. At the same time, current studies about film education are very rare; thus, the volume at hand can close a gap with regard to the topic “Films” at school. Moreover, it presents for the first time a historical-comparative study on educational media and textbooks, which examines their content with regard to subject constitution.

The core research question focusses on the issue how students and teachers are addressed and subjectivated in textbooks that deal with film educational matters. In the theoretical part of the analysis, the author develops a questionnaire with a range of topics, which are oriented towards the philosophy of Michel Foucault; this questionnaire can also be used as heuristics for further studies on film education. In the empirical part, the author presents a discourse analysis of the textbooks and works out five content dimensions, by means of which the constitution and positioning of the subjects can be retraced and structured. Thus, the implicit subject conceptions of the educational media can be reconstructed.

The book specifies Althusser’s idea of “invocation” and Foucault’s considerations to subject theory in respect of the topic “film” in school pedagogy and helps to make these philosophical approaches more suitable for research.