By Rose Oxana Gladysheva, a kindergartenteacher.
Information and communication technologies (ICT)have become usual things in all spheres of life. Across the past twenty fiveyears the use of ICT has significantly changed the practices and procedures inbusiness sectors and governance. Education is a socially focused activity andquality of education has been connected with strong degrees of teachers contactwith learners. But with the world moving quickly into digital information and media, the role of ICT in educationis turning to be significant and its importance will continue to grow in the 21stcentury. The field of education hasbeen affected by ICT, which has affected learning, teaching and research . ICT has potential to innovate, enrichand deepen skills, to motivate and engage learners , to help connect schoolexperience with work practices. ScholarsZhao and Cziko in their article ”Teacher adoption of technology: a perceptualcontrol theory perspective” suggest three circumstances which arevital for educators to introduce ICTinto their classrooms: teachers should believe in the effectiveness oftechnology, teachers should believe that the use of technology will not bringany disturbance, and finally teachers should believe that they have controlover technology. ICT soars the options of delivery of education and learnerscan access knowledge anytime and from any place.
I can highlight two types of ICT: ICT foreducation, and ICT in education. ICT for education refers to the development ofinformation and communicationtechnologies designed for learning/teaching needs . ICT in education involvesthe adoption of general parts of ICT in the teaching /learning process. All classrooms of Huamei Kindergartenare equipped with TV screens ,touchboards, projectors and access to theinternet. Keeping in mind the aims of kindergarten to emphasize speaking skillsof our students and implementing IB curriculum, this semester I suggested to my senior students from Koala and Lion classes a new classroom practice : online conferences via Skype with foreign students, learning English. It is awonderful chance for students to practice daily English with peers from abroad,to see children of a different appearance and make new friends, and finally to feel the necessity to learnEnglish in order to communicate own ideas. Eventually this project developintercultural understanding and communication among the students. Collaborationthrough technology, in our case this is Skype, enhances students’ interaction,engagement, learning and thinking skills, moreover, it can increase the flexibility and diversity of theireducational experience.
I foundtwo schools from Moscow, Russia, willing to join in thisproject. The Skype conference isdesigned for 30-minutes online session, of a split class with 15 students in a group, who come to themicrophone to greet and exchange some phrases with their foreign colleagues. Atthe end students are supposed to sing a song, or show a dance in English and ina language of their country. Desirably such shows shall be performed with costumes tomake the meeting festive and more fun.
So far my students had two skype sessions. In November Chinese kids gavea performance of kong-fu, while their Russian colleagues showed a traditional dance of “Kalinka-Malinka”, wearing traditional costumes and playing a Russian musical instrument –balalaika.
December skype meeting was devoted to Christmas, so students sang carols and talkedabout Christmas presents they want to receive. Chinese students saw Snegurochka,a Father Frost’s granddaughter , who sent them best wishes from Russia.Moreover, students mailed Christmas cards to Russia and now expecting to getpostcards from Russian peers too.
People from foreign countries and new cultures are much closer than we may think: no need to buy tickets and spend time on the buses or airplanes traveling to new places. What we shall do as educators is to stay flexible andcreative, using given resources that benefit our students. Innovation andeducation create opportunities for development and globalization.
a Russin Snegurochka greets Lion class
kids are singing carols
say hello to each other
kids show Kong-fu