Week 4 – Thinking about Tech-Rich Learning

In Russia, we have a very good saying: “Man proposes and God disposes”. In English, it is “Man plans, and God laughs”. I did not want to use the second version of this saying because it is not the time for laughing. As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, people’s everyday life has been changing tremendously. 

Credit: alphaspirit/Shutterstock
Psychologist explores how meaningfulness cultivates well-being,  Clifton B. Parker, Stanford University, 2014.

I had my plan of action on how I will learn during Course 1 and implement new ideas and new tools in class. Suddenly, our life became hectic, the plans were changing every day. So, I could not find a minute to sit, read and reflect. Now, after the first week of distance learning, I was ready to come back to my COETAIL learning (on Thursday, I had a few hours to read and think).

BUT on Friday, I started my working day at 06:30 and finished at 23:19. I have only 1 hour break (16:00-17:00), when I actually had my lunch or dinner, I am not sure.

Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health, “5 HABITS THAT MAKE MILLENNIALS STRESSED OUT AND LESS PRODUCTIVE”, 2017.

My takeaways from reading Resources were:

Relevant to the students

When I am planning a new unit or think about learning engagements I need to find the topic that is relevant to students today. I am a World Language teacher, and we, as adults and educators always choose the topic, texts, videos that we think would be useful for our students. Probably, it would be interesting to ask students what they want to learn.

Authentic audience

I agree that students’ motivation will be increased if they know the audience. When we had a Russian school to communicate with, the students were engaged fully in writing letters, in preparing a presentation about our school because they knew that the real Russian kids would come, and they would give them a tour.

It is challenging to develop a real-world task as well as an age-appropriate task, especially in the lower primary and in a foreign language (in my case). We are teaching skills and knowledge that will allow them first to survive in a country and then maybe to enjoy living in this country. We teach them not only a language, but we also try to give them a taste of culture, explaining some phenomenon, finding similarities and differences, teaching them to be tolerant of things that are different or do not understand. 

“How have you planned for tech-rich learning in the past?”   

I am a Russian language teacher in Elementary School.

What have I used in the past?

Smart-board games that we were creating as a department. 

  • To teach new vocabulary
  • To teach how to read and write

The results were incredible.  My five years old Russian learners were able to read (recognize?) the main vocabulary and write familiar words, phrases, and sentences in Russian after one-year learning, using these games. 

BUT the software was updated, and WE HAD LOST  all the games that we have created for the last three years. It was such a pain and discourage.

What tech-rich lesson I am facilitating

Now the school buys different apps such as Linguascope or FluentU that support the learning of vocabulary and structure. The problem is that Linguascope is developed for the total beginners for the Russian language and it can be used for a while and this app does not allow practicing vocabulary in context and does not have different levels for the Russian language.

Another problem that I have was FluentU subscription policy. I can have a subscription as a teacher, but I can not subscribe to my students.

This week and the other 5 weeks is going to be distance learning. All learning engagements will be through Seesaw.  This platform is familiar to my students. And so far, the results are incredible.

2 Replies to “Week 4 – Thinking about Tech-Rich Learning”

  1. Hello, Katya!

    I’ve been very curious about you and interested in reading your blog. I live in Mongolia, a country with many Russian influences, including the public education system. As education has modernized, the public school system can be slow to do the same, especially in the countryside.

    Like you, (as a parent) my daughter (5 yo) is using Seesaw as a learning platform. I’ve been impressed with what she is accomplishing. Are you able to allow the students to collaborate with each other at all? I’m curious if this is possible and if so, how.

    You mention it is challenging to develop a real-world task that is also age-appropriate. I can sometimes struggle with the same.

    What about the food? You could have the students try typical Russian snacks (or even better, candy) and have them describe the taste and appearance or explain if they like it or not and why. And then have them draw their own favorite snack from their own cultures and write sentences about it. Just an idea!

    All the best during such a crazy time.

    -Brittany

    1. Hello, Brittany!

      I really like Seesaw as one of an online platform for distance learning. There is an option in Class settings that students can see each other’s work and also can write likes and comments about each other work. I think this option allows the students to collaborate with each other. Another thing that we are using now is google meet. During the google meet the students can see me and each other, communicate, discuss, ask each other questions and reflect.

      Thank you for your idea to try traditional snacks. We do a lot of activities like this in school. But now, during distance learning, I try to create an activity that will not be on the parents’ shoulders and students can use things at home (food in the fridge, toys, clothing, etc.)

      Stay safe and stay well,
      Katya

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