New Educational Strategies in Modern Information Space - 2020
Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia
Universities in the context of digitalization.
Collaboration project of Herzen University and Potsdam University
International projects in the field of digitalization of education allow us to demonstrate and critically reflect on the national specifics of this global process. One of the cooperation areas between the Неrzen State Pedagogical University of Russian and the Potsdam University is multimedia and media technologies in education. The actual branch of this collaboration is the online joint course “Multimedia Technologies in Education".
The cooperation between the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia and the University of Potsdam has a long history. One of the interaction areas concerns the experience exchange in the field of media technologies in education. Cooperation is carried out remotely and in the form of annual visits to exchange experiences and coordinate further actions. At the beginning of the collaboration, it was focused on educational practices using instructional television and video, which were actively developed at both universities [2,3]. Digitalization as a trend is developing rapidly in partner countries. Numerous pedagogical practices and start-ups appear, designed to increase the digital literacy and media competencies of learners [1,4]. Today in the frame of cooperation the wide range of media technologies, including virtual reality are analyzed.
The current core collaboration area is formulated as «Universities in the context of digitalization. Changing infrastructure requirements, as well as the university strategic orientation as a part of digitalization». This direction is led by the Institute of Information Technologies and Technological Educational of the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (Department of Digital Education) and the Center of Information Technology and Media Management at The University of Potsdam (ZIM).
In 2019 - 2020, the following general topics are addressed:
The course content corresponds to the problems of digital media application in teaching and learning and related questions of research-based and theory-based examination of teaching practices in the digital world including the framework of the "Digital Pact" [ ]. Such a focus of course content is driven by a great need for further training due to the current technological and educational trends: equipping schools with digital devices, further IT infrastructure upgrading and transformation of high-demanded learning outcomes. In the context of "digital package and media education," both fresh and experienced teachers need respective further training.
The course offered for teacher’s training at Potsdam University contributes to the improvement of pedagogical experience in the following aspects:
One of the joint course modules is designed for the development of media technology competences or competences in dealing with certain network applications.
The module contains practical tasks, which can be studied in any sequence because each task focuses on one of the main types of multimedia content: graphics, infographics, audio, video, animation, and non-linear presentations. In the framework of the module students also gain skills in digital formats conversion. All practical works are equipped with brief theoretical material and self-test control.
Practical tasks are aimed to acquire instrumental skills in the following areas:
The module contains instructional materials (theoretical materials, practical tasks, test control, auxiliary demonstration materials, and selection of useful links), and communication facilities.
The study of the module is provided at several levels.
At the first stage, students develop independent projects after studying the module "Network services for creating multimedia content". In this project, students are invited to talk about their hobbies and interests (sports, music, computer games, classes in educational clubs, etc.). Such a task allows students to get acquainted with the interests of other course users, find common topics for discussion, get an idea of how to use multimedia tools in practice.
In the second stage, students are invited to develop a video or animated video explaining the problem solution in the selected knowledge field. This task requires students to understand and show the algorithm of the decision, to design the video script, to select the optimal way to present information using audiovisual means.
In the third stage, students develop e-learning resources for the teaching of particular topic. At this stage, students could choose different forms of project implementation: multimedia presentation, podcast, website, animation or video clip.
At the fourth stage, students develop digital content for the flipped class. Their task is to determine their resource role in the lesson and in self-regulated learning activities.
The course “Multimedia Technologies in Education" is being realized in a mixture of online and offline activities, including different methods, tools, and materials. A digital course room on the online platform Moodle enables and supports digital activities (writing and commenting on forum posts, creating and revising wiki posts, etc.).
On-line sessions in frame of the course were conducted by the means of DFNconf-Portal, the special cloud services for science. It is useful because corresponds with work processes in research and teaching considering questions of information security, performance or scalability. The DFN-Cloud offers network-based communication services for research and teaching but is also itself the subject of research to develop new and improved cloud services. The participating institutions are thus invited not only to use the services of the DFN Cloud, but also to help shape the further development of the DFN Cloud with their experience.
During on-line course sessions, the Russian participants (4-year bachelor students) reported on the role of digital media in school and teaching and proposed to discuss trending digital recourses for schools in Russia.
The list of questions of the on-line sessions (video conference) concerning regional and global specifics of multimedia technology application:
For the last session (November 2020) students prepared projects, which allowed German colleagues to discover modern trends in the development of digital multimedia educational resources collections for schools in Russia. Projects were dedicated to the following online platforms: Uchi.ru, Infourok, NTI Lesson. Students prepared their messages in video format. It allowed, on the one hand, to demonstrate their media competencies, and on the other to present concentrated content and leave time for the discussion.
They showed by examples how portal Uchi.ru resources contribute to the differentiation of the learning process, make it possible to expand the range of methods for presenting educational information to increase interest in the subject and how they help to fill in the learning gaps. The advantages of the portal resources are due to the fact that they are developed by professional methodologists and specialists in the children's interface. As the Uchi.ru platform takes into account the speed and accuracy of assignments, the number of errors and student behavior, digital recourses are intended for use as part of a personal educational path. Thus, for each student, the system automatically selects personal tasks, their sequence, and level of difficulty. The role of attracting the attention of schoolchildren for subject olympiads was especially emphasized.
During the online session, the capabilities of the Infourok portal were demonstrated, which is one of the major educational resources for schools in Russia. It provides an extensive library, video lessons, opportunities for participating in competitions, on-line courses and webinars. Using a personal account, teachers can add their materials to the collection. After checking and approval digital learning materials become available for evaluation by other portal users. The portal especially reflects particularly relevant topics. This is especially important in conditions of rapid updating of learning content. For example, in the framework of the federal project "Artificial Intelligence", the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation by 2021 will include the study of artificial intelligence (AI) in the school curriculum, and by 2024 it will be studied in half of the schools. Following this, educational modules are being designed for schoolchildren and to enhance the skills of teachers in the field of artificial intelligence.
The students' video message about the portal for teachers “The Lesson of the National Technology Initiative” aroused great interest. Thе collection of resources allows teachers to prepare integrated lessons with a digital context. This is especially important since any breakthrough solutions appear only at the intersection of technologies and areas of knowledge. The resource of each lesson as a constructor consists of blocks from which the teacher can assemble a lesson under specific goals, objectives, and opportunities. Introductory lessons include general orientation multimedia materials from the world of engineering and advanced technological challenges of the 21st century. Variable blocks help to focus on a specific topic, as well as to choose the level and volume of questions. Materials are available to the teacher after registration.
And one more interesting topic was affected during the synchronous communication session. Participants discussed the experience of using virtual reality technologies in education. During the visit of Herzen University representatives to the University of Potsdam, they attendеd the laboratory of virtual reality. Wearing the VR headset, they had the opportunity to try themselves as a teacher in a classroom with only virtual students. This virtual learning environment is designed to shape future teacher’s skills to manage student’s classroom behavior in complex and non-standard situations. The skills of pedagogical communication in a virtual classroom are evaluated and adjusted by an external expert. Video conference participants exchanged views on the benefits and limitations of this progressive technology in education.
Russian students offered several examples of pilot VR and AR applications in domestic schools. In collaboration with companies dealing with VR, some projects in the field of virtual laboratories and virtual planetariums have been implemented in schools. Universal VR and AR (CoSpaces-edu, EV Toolbox) constructors provide not only virtual environment exploration but also coding and animating models ore images. Students mentioned widely used free AR mobile applications (Anatomy 4D, Entertaining Chemistry, etc).
The cooperation of the two universities in the field of multimedia technologies in education, media, and IT services in the context of studies and teaching and shaping student’s and teacher’s media competencies is in progress. Plans for future collaboration period are associated with the evaluation of the first run of the joint course “Multimedia Technologies in Education", clarification of the further procedure of the course optimization, agreements on joint publications.
Such cooperation is useful and fruitful since digitalization processes are global and in any country, the mission of education is to ensure the effectiveness of these processes. Many digital trends have a similar manifestation in the educational systems of different countries. At the same time, while exchanging experience in the framework of international projects, national specifics are revealed, which can be critically interpreted and applied in to improve teaching practice in the digital educational environment.
The paper is very interesting and topical in the context of preparing future teachers to their professional activities in the digital world. The described cooperation within the elaboration of the course “Multimedia Technologies in Education" answers the main challenges of the today education - project-based learning and practical orientation of assignments. it is good that students are involved in a "real" experience of applying media in the educational process. It would be interesting to know, have there occured any difficulties within this collaborate work and, if yes, of what origin?
The paper is very useful for those teachers and professors who are going to modernize their courses using modern approaches and technologies (competency-based approach, multidisciplinary approach, project-based learning, flipped classroom, international cooperation, multimedia technologies, etc.). Quite detailed explanations and analyzes of the practice are good advantages of this text. It will be interesting to learn what will be the next stage of the project and what will be the task for the next step?
Наталия Дмитриевна Козина:
Presenting research results provides valuable information for future teachers in the context of media education. This paper sets out to examine methods that can be used to expand the quality of teaching with digital media. Students should be encouraged by the fact that today the wide collection of resources allows teachers to prepare integrated lessons with a digital context. In my opinion, research presentations during the on-line sessions in the scope of the course “Multimedia Technologies in Education" are excellent opportunities to inform others of investigation findings in trending digital recourses for schools in Russia.
Topics of 2020 collaboration cover the first run of the joint course “Multimedia Technologies in Education " evaluation and elaboration of the optimized course version.