Prof. Dr. Isabel Zorn

Dr. phil.
Faculty of Applied Social Sciences

Institute of Media Research and Media Education


  • Institute Director
  • Professor in Digital and Social Transformation
  • Head of research center "Digital Technologies in Social Service" DITES
  • Graduate School NRW: elected member of department council, Dept. of Media and Interaction

Official capacities

  • Web content

Teaching disciplines

  • Media Education
  • Digital Media in Social Work
  • Sociotechnical support for nursing families - Identification, visualization and transfer of family innovations from everyday life with children in need of care.
    Parents of children in need of care are often confronted with a care situation unprepared. Parents who have been caring for a long time, on the other hand, have often built up a wealth of experience in care-centered everyday coping over many years. However, this knowledge has not been formalized and has been inaccessible until now. Yet other parents could benefit enormously from this knowledge and everyday innovations. Researchers in the Care Treasures project want to mine the "knowledge treasures" of informal care and make the valuable experiences of informal caregivers accessible on a platform. Similar to social networks - such as AirBnB or Instagram - research and networking are to be made possible via a visual interface. The goal is to relieve the burden on young caregiving families in their daily caregiving routine, but also on vacation or in their free time, and to enable them to participate. The platform is intended to enable the search for ideas and exchange, as well as a random visual "stumbling" upon unexpected care ideas ("this is how a family bike tour with a child in a wheelchair goes"). New caregivers in particular thus gain access to otherwise inaccessible knowledge, including non-medical knowledge, of how to cope with everyday life. Tried-and-tested innovations for relieving the burden of everyday family care are identified, visualized and made digitally accessible. In addition, the platform offers the possibility for experts (care support centers, companies, self-help associations) and informal caregivers to further develop some ideas as prototypes. Project duration: 2022-2023 Funding source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Project management: Prof. Dr. Isabel Zorn, TH Köln, Cologne Collaborative partners: Bremen University of Applied Sciences (Institute for Digital Participation), Munich University of Applied Sciences (Faculty of Applied Social Sciences), Bielefeld University (ZAB - Zentrale Anlaufstelle Barrierefrei), Bundesverband für körper- und mehrfachbehinderte Menschen e.V. (bvkm Düsseldorf)
  • INTIA - Inclusive development of methods and technologies for everyday life (2019-2023)
    Financed by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Project leader. Social work institutions and organizations are developing strategies for promoting the digital participation of their clients. However, so far there has been a lack of concrete individual solutions that are helpful for participation and self-determined everyday coping by young people in social work instiututions. Such digital solutions should ideally reduce risks, do not require a great deal of effort to implement and operate, and can be used without any problems in terms of liability or data protection issues. Under the title "My idea. My solution." the project is piloting participatory methods for developing digital aids to help children and young people with special needs cope with everyday life. The project is lead by 4 professors, all are members of the research center Digital Technologies and Social Services (DITES) with its departments Social Work + Media + Education (Prof. Dr. Isabel Zorn), Computer Science and Sociotechnology (Prof. Dr. Stefan Bente and Prof. Dr. Christian Kohls) and Service Design & Co-Creation (Prof. Birgit Mager) cooperates with institutions of disability and educational assistance (Diakonie Michaelshoven; Evangelische Jugendhilfe Bonn, intra Bonn) as well as with the media literacy agency Fachstelle Jugendmedienkultur (FJMK).
    Web Plattform INTIA methods
  • INCLUDING.DIGITAL.TWINS (IDiT) Inclusion with digital media in vocational training (2018-2022
    As a result of the digital transformation, the (re)integration of rehabilitants and trainees with disabilities into the first labor market is becoming increasingly difficult if they do not have sufficient digital skills. Despite the opportunities offered by digitization for participation in working life, people with learning or mental disabilities in particular will be increasingly subject to risks of exclusion as a result of the expected changes in the world of work. Only a quarter of all training companies train people with disabilities; however, they are seen as particularly motivated. Within the framework of the project, rehabilitation students (prospective office management assistants) and trainees - supported by e-learning and classroom training - develop pedagogical, technical and, above all, digital and media expertise, including skills in the use of digital tools and in the creation of barrier-free media and on the subject of data protection. In the project, they act as mentors in joint learning settings (online tandems=twins) for people with and without disabilities. Funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, ESF funds. Cooperation partners: Niederrehin University of Applied Sciences, SOCON Institute. Project management: Diakonie Michaelshoven. 2018-2021 The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
  • Project "MERiTS" in Graduate School NRW Digital Society (2018-2022)
    Early Childhood Media Use and Language Learning with Social Robots to Promote Participation Opportunities in the Digital Society (MERiTS). together with Prof. Dr. Katharina J Rohlfing, University of Paderborn. The project is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science (MKW) of North Rhine-Westphalia.
    MERITS Content
  • Inclusion and language education with digital media in kindergarten
    Management: Prof. Dr. Isabel Zorn - Faculty: Faculty of Applied Social Sciences - Institute: Institute for Media Research and Media Education (IMM) - Involved: Nicole Najemnik - Scarlet Schaffrath, née Siebert Description: The research project also takes a closer look at possible conditions for success for inclusion and language education with digital media in kindergartens. Everyday pedagogical life in kindergartens is undergoing fundamental change: both the requirements for inclusion and the digitalization of society present pedagogical professionals with new opportunities and challenges. The goal of the research project is to scientifically approach the perspectives of kindergarten teachers on inclusion and language education with digital media. For this purpose, group discussions, workshops, participant observations and interviews will be conducted in cooperation with two integrative kindergartens in Cologne. The results will serve to further develop the theoretical discourse on early childhood media education as well as on inclusive media and language education. - Duration: 06/2016 - 03/2018
  • Inclusive Digitization in university education and in social work (2017-2018)
    Funding source: Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.; Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia -. Description: In line with the UN Disability Convention on equal access to education and information, as well as the efforts of universities to promote diversity in the student body, the project elicits possible risks of exclusion in higher education and develops ideas, strategies and concrete proposals for inclusive digitization in higher education. Digital solutions are also being developed for social work practice in order to reach and serve all conceivable target groups when addressing, advising, and organizing. Solutions are developed cooperatively in all processes, and those affected themselves have their say. The goal is to create a cooperative handout in bar camps with the involvement of the public, in order to also offer support to members of other universities in the various aspects of digitization, as this has only been available sporadically to date. - Project duration: 1.1.2017-31.12.2018
    project description

Selected publications

All publications until 2021

  • Zorn, Isabel/Murmann, Jule/Harrach-Lasfaghi, Asmae (2020 i.E.): Kriterien für die Auswahl Privatsphäre schützender Messenger für Bildungseinrichtungen und Einrichtungen der Sozialen Arbeit, in: Ammicht-Quinn, Regina/Friedewald, Michael/Heesen, Jessica/K
  • Zorn, Isabel (2020 i.E.): Inklusion und Digitalisierung: Rechtliche Vorgaben und Potenziale für Hochschulen, in: Hochschulforum Digitalisierung beim Stifterverband (Hg.) (2020 i.E.): Digitalisierung in Studium und Lehre gemeinsam gestalten, Wiesbaden: Spr
  • „Ethical considerations of applying robots in kindergarten settings: Towards an Approach from a Macroperspective.“
    Tolksdorf, Nils; Rohlfing, Katharina; Siebert, Scarlet; Zorn, Isabel, 2020, Publisher: Int Journal of Social Robotics. 11:1. doi:10.1007/s12369-020-00622-3.
  • Tolksdorf, Nils, Scarlet Siebert, Katharina Rohlfing und Isabel Zorn. 2019. „Parents’ Views on Social Robots for Language Learning.“ 9th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics
  • Digitale Medien in der Frühpädagogik: Zwischen Ermöglichung und Verhinderung von Teilhabe bei Aktivitäten mit Tablets
    Siebert, Scarlet; Najemnik, Nicole; Zorn, Isabel, 2018, Publisher: Zeitschrift merz Wissenschaft Medien und Erziehung
  • "Potentials of Digital Technology for Participation of Special Needs Children in Kindergarten" In: "Computers Helping People with Special Needs: 15th International Conference"
    Zorn, I., Justino, J., Schneider, A., Schönenberg, J., ICCHP 2016, Linz, Austria, July 13-15, 2016, Proceedings, Part II. Cham: Springer International: 301 – 304, Publisher: Miesenberger, K., Bühler, C., Penaz, P.
  • "Digitale Technologien in der Sozialen Arbeit - Zur Notwendigkeit einer technischen Reflexivität. Der pädagogische Blick - Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Praxis in pädagogischen Berufen"
    Zorn, I., Seelmeyer, U., 23 (38254): 134–146., 2015
  • "Digitale Teilhabe statt Doing Disability: Assistive Technologien für inklusive Medienbildung im Kindergarten" In: "GI Edition Proceedings Band 259 INFORMATIK 2016"
    Najemnik, Nicole; Zorn, Isabel, 26.-30. September 2016 Klagenfurt. neue Ausgabe. Bonn: Köllen (GI-Edition. Proceedings, 259), S. 1087–1096, Publisher: Heinrich C. Mayr, Martin Pinzger und Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V. Bonn, Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V
  • Bosse, I., Schluchter, J.-R., & Zorn, I. (Eds.). (2019). Handbuch Inklusion und Medienbildung. Weinheim [u.a.]: Beltz Juventa.
  • Kutscher, Nadia, Thomas Ley, Udo Seelmeyer, Friederike Siller, Angela Tillmann und Isabel Zorn, Hg. 2020. Handbuch Soziale Arbeit und Digitalisierung. Weinheim [u.a.]: Beltz Juventa.
  • Handbuch Soziale Arbeit und Digitalisierung
    2020, Publisher: Kutscher, Nadia; Ley, Thomas; Seelmeyer, Udo; Siller, Friederike, Tillmann, Angela; Zorn, Isabel
  • Handbuch Inklusion und Medienbildung
    Beltz Juventa 2019, Publisher: Bosse, Ingo/Schluchter, Jan-René/Zorn, Isabel
  • Konstruktionstätigkeit mit Digitalen Medien : eine qualitative Studie als Beitrag zur Medienbildung
    (1. Aufl., als Ms. gedr. ed.). Boizenburg: Hülsbusch, 2012, Publisher: Zorn, I.
  • "Educasting: Wie Podcasts in Bildungskontexten Anwendung finden" In: "L3T - Lernen und Lehren mit Technologien - Das E-Book 2013"
    Zorn, I., Auwärter, A., Krüger, M., Seehagen-Marx, H., (2 ed.): Berlin. epubli: 257 – 266, 2013, Publisher: Ebner M., Schön S.
  • "Interessen und Kompetenzen fördern - Programmieren und kreatives Konstruieren" In: "L3T - Lernen und Lehren mit Technologien - Das E-Book 2013"
    Zorn, I., Trappe, C., Stöckelmayr, K., Kohn, T., Derndorfer, C., (2. ed.): Berlin. epubli: 445 – 454, 2013, Publisher: Ebner M., Schön, S.
  • "Digitale Datenerhebung und - verwertung als Herausforderung für Medienbildung und Gesellschaft. Ein medienpädagogisches Diskussionspapier zu Big Data und Data Analytics." In: "Kommunikationskulturen in digitalen Welten. [...]"
    Aßmann, Sandra/Brüggen, Niels/Dander, Valentin/Gapski, Harald/Sieben, Gerda/Tillmann, Angela/Zorn, Isabel, München: kopaed, S. 131–139, 2016, Publisher: Brüggemann, Marion/Knaus, Thomas/Meister, Dorothee
  • "Einführung in die Programmierung von Arduino mit Videos" In: "Making-Aktivitäten mit Kindern und Jugendlichen. Handbuch zum kreativen digitalen Gestalten"
    Zorn, I., (1.ed.). Norderstedt: 231 – 238, 2016, Publisher: Schön, S., Ebner, M., Narr, K.
  • "Eine medienpädagogische Positionsbestimmung zu Big Data"
    Aßmann, S., Brüggen, N., Dander, V., Gapski, H., Sieben, G., Tillmann, A., Zorn, I., Retrieved March 3, 2016
  • "Warum sich Medienpädagogik mit BigData befassen sollte" In: "Big Data und Medienbildung - Zwischen Kontrollverlust, Selbstverteidigung und Souveränität in der digitalen Welt"
    Zorn, I., Schriftenreihe zur digitalen Gesellschaft NRW: Vol. 3, München: kopaed: 19-23, 2015, Publisher: Gapski, H.
  • "Freie Open Source-Software in der Hochschule - Zu Anforderungen und Zielen in Pädagogik und Sozialarbeit-Studiengängen im Paradigma der Medienbildung" In: "Open Source und Schule. Warum Bildung Offenheit braucht"
    Berlin: 41–64, 2015, Publisher: Seitz, S.
  • "Medienpädagogische Grundbildung in den Studiengängen der Fakultät für Angewandte Sozialwissenschaften an der Fachhochschule Köln" In: "Grundbildung Medien in pädagogischen Studiengängen"
    Zorn, I., Tillmann, A., Kaminski, W., München: 167-179, 2014, Publisher: Imort, P., Niesyto, H.
  • "Selbst-, Welt- und Technologieverhältnisse im Umgang mit Digitalen Medien" In: "Perspektiven der Medienbildung"
    Zorn, I., Vol. 27. Wiesbaden: Springer VS: 91-120, 2014, Publisher: Marotzki W., Meder N.
  • "Kreative Einführung in die Microcontroller-Programmierung: Ein didaktisches Konzept zur Förderung von Technikinteresse bei pädagogischen Fachkräften"
    Zorn, I., Computer + Unterricht, 24(93): 54-56, 2014
  • "Lernen mit digitalen Medien. Zur Gestaltung der Lernszenarien" In: "Serious Games - Exergames - Exerlearning - Zur Transmedialisierung und Gamification des Wissenstransfers"
    Zorn, I., Bielefeld. transcript Verlag: 49-74, 2013, Publisher: Freyermuth, G., Gotto, S., L., & Wallenfels, F.
  • "Kommunikation und Lernprozesse beim Einsatz Digitaler Medien in Lernkontexten" In: "Kommunikation in der Schule"
    Zorn, I., Stuttgart. Klinkhardt UTB: 161-183, 2013, Publisher: Vogel, I. C.
  • "Welchen Mehrwert bieten digitale Medien im Unterricht? - Sieben Beispiele aus der Praxis kurz vorgestellt" In: "Lernen in der digitalen Gesellschaft – offen, vernetzt, integrativ"
    Unbekannt, M., Ulmer, J., Klett, D., Zorn, I., Abschlussbericht. Berlin. Internet & Gesellschaft Collaboratory: 75-80, 2013, Publisher: Ludwig, L., Narr, K., Frank S., Staemmler, D.
  • "Learning Networks as human-technology interaction in a process of designing software-technological artefacts" In: "IATEL - interdisciplinary approaches to technology-enhanced learning"
    Zorn, I., & Seifert, M., Münster: Waxmann: 147-170, 2012, Publisher: Mühlhäuser M. et al.
2022 TH Köln
Professor for Digital and Social Transformation
2019 Head of research center "Digital Technologies in Social Service" DITES
2011-2021 TH Köln University of Applied Sciences
Professor for Media Education
2010 PhD, University of Bremen
2008-2010 University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau
Research Assistant at Institute of Education, Didactics and School Development
2002-2005 University of Bremen
Research Assistant at Department of Mathematics and Computing Sciences, working in research lab Digital Media in Education directed by Prof. Dr. Heidi Schelhowe's
1998 Education: Magister Artium Degree (similar M.A.) at University of Jena
in Education, Psychology, Intercultural Business Communication