Diocese House in Moscow

Notes on the conference Digital Education – 21st Century: the section on pedagogical communication in distance learning. Morning.

The conference website is at http://edu-forum.pro/en

Video of the morning session https://youtu.be/HcZqy8V4Z-c?t=1223

The section moderated by Protoiereus Gennady Egorov was titled “Pedagogical communication in Distance Education.”

Svetlana Demina from Moscow Pedagogical State University. Talked about the importance of digital competences for teachers. Teachers generally think that oral questions are the best way to test their students online. MPSU is trying to develop in new teachers a better understanding of the possibilities of online work. She finished with a quote from Lester C. Thurow to demonstrate that beliefs and technology need to be harmoniously combined.

Denis Yanishev from MSU Centre for the development of Electronic Educational Resources, described the process where a medium of communication changes… eg. camera placed to give the impression of someone watching a play. Calling this a film, would be misleading because of the lack of cinematic techniques, the chance of combining various takes and editing the results. The same happens with online education. He also discussed the effectiveness of the workshop activity in Moodle.

Tatiana Kozlova of MIREA — Russian Technological University. Talked about the experience of the pandemic. The sudden difficulties created a need to communicate and this demonstrated the advantages of the forum compared with social networks or the corporate email system. (Students contacted teachers in social networks in an attempt to get information from them. The university wanted them to use the corporate email system.) She gave a detailed description of how the university organised online presentations by students in webinars.

Natalia Dneprovskaya from the Higher School of Economics talked about communication between teachers. This is a relatively neglected aspect of pedagogical communication.

Elena Drugova, also from HSE, spoke on analytics for improving pedagogical design. She showed how this information could help correct courses so that they were better aligned with pedagogical theory or with the content and aims of a particular course.

Maria Lebedeva from the Pushkin Institute presented some specific analytical information about online study of Russian as a foreign language. Apart from the obvious technical and administrative problems caused by the pandemic, the problem of “social presence” was also worthy of attention. The difficulty of online teaching was that it generally involved less communication, especially from the side of the student — which ought to be the main part of language learning. They also joke less, use each others’ names less. There are quite a lot of questions posed by teachers online, but these are closed questions that don’t create a real sense of feedback from students.

There were questions from the participants about:

Problems of terminology.
Whether the whole idea of online learning is a good or bad thing.
The need for more research.
Psychological change among students due to increasing use of the internet and change in habits of communication.
Self-identification in the internet.
Methods of research and analysis of behaviour in distance learning, including “action research”.
Audit and evaluation of courses.

Rinat Grimanov of Surgutneftegas led a brainstorm of topics for the next conference:

This section begins here – https://youtu.be/HcZqy8V4Z-c?t=7885

Participants named factors which influence the education system. They named such issues as the prestige of different professions, legal frameworks, technology, economics. Members of the panel classified these according to four descriptors:

  • what everybody knows – simple situations
  • what experts know – complex situations and systems
  • what we don’t know, but it will be possible to find out – these are cases where past experience is not relevant.
  • what we don’t know, and we never will. – these are chaotic systems where it is impossible to know in principle.

It was suggested that the conference should concentrate on factors where experts can offer advice and knowledge, and also the cases where expertise may be less relevant because there are new factors in action. Questions that everybody knows, or which are impossible to know, should be avoided.

DGK
  • Teacher of English as a foreign language and specialist in distance education

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