Executive Education

Seminar on Fake News, Disinformation and Opinion Formation in the School Context

The seminar participants after receiving their certificate of attendance with Matthias Graf von Kielmansegg and Sarah Franke from the Vodafone Foundation Germany as well as Prof. Dr. Andrea Römmele and Mai Hohwy from the Hertie School.

Fact or Fake?

Whether climate change, the COVID-19 Pandemic, or the Russian War on Ukraine - there are currently many events where disinformation and fake news are becoming a major challenge for society, politics, and democracy. Simultaneously, bots and algorithms are increasingly deciding what information we perceive on the Internet. As a result, the boundaries between facts and targeted digital disinformation are becoming more and more blurred. Therefore, school students are also increasingly encountering misinformation, conspiracy ideologies, and propagandistic content on the Internet and on social media. Educational institutions, in particular, have a duty to help young people recognise misinformation and strengthen their skills in dealing with disinformation, fake news, and hate comments.

2.5-Day Seminar Series

Against this backdrop, it is crucial to raise awareness of the associated challenges, particularly in the school context, and to strengthen competencies in opinion formation. For this reason, the Hertie School Executive Education, in cooperation with the Vodafone Foundation Germany, has developed a seminar series that provides German professionals in teacher training and continuing education with practical tips and valuable know-how from various subject areas all aimed at sensitising teachers – and thereby students – to the new quality of information in the digital age. With this seminar series, the Vodafone Foundation Germany and the Hertie School aim to elevate awareness of new challenges in democratic information processes.

The approximately 15 participants of the programme act as multipliers. The seminar is designed to enable them to pass on knowledge and support to teachers, schools, and the student body. The seminar programme (à two iterations), held in German and moderated by the Dean of Executive Education Prof. Dr. Andrea Römmele, consists of two on-site seminar days at the Hertie School and of one half-day online. The programme includes an introduction to the content, practice-oriented workshops on topics such as recognising and combating disinformation and pseudoscience, and various lectures on artificial intelligence, deepfakes, social media, and the consequences of these technologies. The focus throughout the seminar series is on linking these topics with practical experiences from school. The programme is supplemented by group discussions and group work to foster inter-participant learning and building synergies between the participants. The seminar series also provides space for an exchange of knowledge and experience, which enriches the programme in a complementary way.

The Learning Objectives

The seminar teaches competencies and skills that help participants:

  • Sharpen the analytical view on the content of different communication channels,
  • Recognise fake news and disinformation, understanding the motives of senders, and analysing their approach and impact,
  • Access instruments and tools to verify content and to verify it systematically with the help of transparency and fact checks,
  • Understand how journalism works in a digital society, what challenges are involved, and how opinion-forming processes of students as well as teachers are influenced by digital and social media,
  • Understand the importance and implications of educating teachers and young people about disinformation and fake news.

In 2024, the second run of the seminar will take place with new participants. Stay informed here about the dates for the second edition of the seminar.

We would like to thank the Vodafone Foundation Germany and our excellent speakers for the good cooperation and valuable contributions.


The Vodafone Stiftung Deutschland, together with partners from politics, science and civil society, conducts research and initiates programmes in the field of digital education. It has its own think tank and implements various projects and events as an operating foundation. The foundation's work focuses on "skills for the digital world of work" and "democracy in the digital society".

Faculty and experts

The programme included sessions with:

  • Andrea Römmele, Dean of Executive Education and Professor for Communication in Politics and Civil Society
  • Philipp Darius, Research Associate and Incoming Postdoctoral Researcher, Hertie School Centre for Digital Governance
  • Nicola Kuhrt, Science Journalist, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, MedWatch.de, Editorial Director, Research.Table at Table Media
  • Prof. Dr. Lars Rinsdorf, Professor of Communication Sciences, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Prof. Dr. Tong-Jin Smith, Co-Founder of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CeMIL) at the Institute for Journalism and Communication Studies at FU Berlin, Professor of Journalism at HMKW Berlin
  • Dr. Julia Schmengler, Media Education Consultant and Teacher, District of Cuxhaven
  • Hendrik Haverkamp, Coordinator for Digital Literacy and Teacher, Evangelisch Stiftisches Gymnasium Gütersloh
  • Annkatrin Kaiser, Program Director Germany - Switzerland, Lie Detectors
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Dengel, Professor of Information Didactics, Goethe University Frankfurt

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