Gadget as a tool for study: Moscow teachers tell about the Moscow Electronic School

Gadget as a tool for study: Moscow teachers tell about the Moscow Electronic School
Moscow teachers make lesson plans, write textbooks, develop applications ...  They told how the Moscow Electronic School has changed their life.

Moscow teachers are actively engaged in the development of the Moscow Electronic School (MES). During the project, 722 teachers from 321 city schools have received grants for their contribution to its development. Rewards are paid for the development of a textbook, a lesson plan or a block of plans, educational applications, as well as a meta-subject lesson developed by teachers in co-authorship. The size of the grant depends on the relevance of the published material. Today, the MES library has more than 35,000 electronic lesson plans and about 50,000 interactive educational applications, more than 1,000 electronic textbooks and teaching aids.

The grant owners and authors of materials for the MES told why teachers write lesson plans for the electronic library, whether the project helps teachers and students, and how it facilitates the educational process.

Maria Tyulyaeva, an English teacher at School No. 1253

She has been working as a teacher for 12 years, has mastered MES on her own. During the project, she has written 48 plans, developed 38 applications, 14 video lessons on English grammar and one electronic textbook on English verb tenses.

“Moscow Department of Education and Science conducts weekly teleconferences. This is our mouthpiece, so we learn the news of education. At a teleconference in January 2017, I saw five teachers who made electronic lessons for the MES library awarded grants. Quite a lot of money – 100,000 roubles. Then it was announced that every Moscow teacher could work at the MES and get a grant. At that time, it was tested in a number of schools in the city.

I have always been interested in developing distance courses, e-books and educational videos. So, I grabbed the chance, started exploring the MES, and soon mastered the system on my own. I had received my first grant before our school joined the project.

Colleagues got interested in the MES right away and wanted to learn to work in it, too. I had to somehow help everyone to master it. So I decided to launch my own YouTube blog to post MES tutorial videos for all Moscow teachers. It was my initiative. To date, over 22,000 teachers have watched my videos.

I like creating e-courses, and I’m happy I can approve myself. Today I have five grants: for lessons on two educational modules, for a video on English grammar, for a lesson plan and an e-textbook.

Now I'm interested in creating interactive applications. These are educational mini-games with automatic checking. I make English grammar applications. Each of them consists of a short and bright video with a rule explained, and five lesson check questions. A student can see where he or she is wrong, and can practise more.

Creating a plan with tests, video, quality graphics and methodological comments from scratch takes 24 to 48 working hours. I mostly do graphics and videos myself. As for applications, it is also quite a long process, which can take up to 12 hours. But this means that my application has saved a thousand hours for other English teachers. I also enjoy using colleagues' plans. And their creativity, fresh ideas and approaches never fail to amaze me. It’s so inspiring.

The MES has made learning easier for children. Even if a student misses something, he or she can always go back to the materials studied in class. Besides, parents have changed their attitude to the child's gadget. It used to be a toy, but now it’s a tool children use to study.

Also, today it takes children less time to cover more learning content. At the class, no one is distracted, they just don’t need to look under the desk, where the phone is hidden with some chat.

It’s very important that content can be updated quickly in the MES. Paper textbooks need to be reprinted, which is time-consuming and expensive. With MES, things are much quicker.”

Irina Bobryashova, a biology teacher at school No. 329

She has been working as a teacher for 26 years and is an honoured educator. She helped develop the MES at the stage of its creation. She has had three grants for her contribution to the development of the project.

“I’ve been working with the MES almost from the moment when the project was just in theory. I was invited as a teacher to advise developers on what teachers would like to get from an electronic resource like that. I worked in a group of teachers to test various aspects, we gave advice and made corrections. It was in 2016. Then, in the course of testing, together with colleagues, we wrote a 5th form e-textbook. I received my first grant for it. The second grant was for a block of 9th form ecology lessons. And I got my third grant last year for atomic content, that is, some of my content has been downloaded a certain number of times.

It is very interesting to create your own materials. The MES is a common platform where all Moscow teachers can share their experience. Naturally, there are very creative teachers in Moscow, who can come up with and do a lot. And it's great we now have such an opportunity ― to see other teachers' lessons and use them in our work. There are young, inexperienced teachers; for them, colleagues' lessons are a kind of manual ‘How to Plan a Lesson and What Content to Use’. Using this platform, you can work with children at a very high level, even if you haven’t got much experience or have too much work , when the teacher just hasn’t got time to make a new plan for the lesson. I also actively use the lesson plans of other teachers uploaded to the library.

Besides, with the Moscow Electronic School, you don’t need to take a hard drive, flash drives or other papers with you. You can simply open and show the lesson. Each Moscow teacher has access to the website. It’s like a big database.

Before the lesson is published in the MES, it is moderated. Experts view and review it, whether it meets certain requirements. A modern lesson should be dynamic, have elements that allow children to shape independent behaviour, responsibility in relation to the environment, family, values. Each lesson on any subject must have videos, interactive exercises. Moscow’s resources are also used. These are websites of various museums, informational or governmental portals. For example, I used information from the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources for Environment lessons.

Children like interactivity very much, because they can move, touch, revise the studied material in a game. It is interesting, fascinating and informative too. Students like it when everything is clear. And Biology in general is a subject almost entirely arranged by visual methods and aids, as we study the wildlife around us.

As for students’ attitude to the MES, I focus on the work of the teacher rather than on the MES, in particular the one using the project resources. It is always obvious when high school students are interested, when they feel the value of the lesson personally for themselves and for their future. They enjoy lessons of such a teacher.

The MES’ development perspective is hard to picture, as technology is rapidly moving forward. Perhaps there will be something in 3D, and perhaps students will dive into virtual reality to study some processes. I hope that soon there will be electronic portfolios in students' personal accounts.

Besides, the child should have the possibility of self-check, should choose his or her own tests, tasks, exercises, complete them and get the result. This will be a personal initiative of the child, with no marks in the class register, but the child will be able to analyse his or her mistakes. He or she may also want to check out some more lessons, work through some topic. There are no such tests so far (except for those attached by the teacher). The function of preparing for the finals can be added, trial exam papers posted for both the teacher and the student to work with.”

Lyudmila Galishnikova, a primary school teacher at school No. 949

Teaching experience - 27 years. Honoured Worker of General Education of Russia. She has made 17 lessons, two textbooks, and 66 applications. She believes that the MES is a good platform to share experience.

“Our institution joined the Moscow Electronic School project in spring 2017. At that time, I was offered to make one lesson. I was glad to get engaged, since it was always interesting for me to learn everything new. The moderators liked that lesson, and I was immediately proposed to develop a module on the topic of the first lesson. These were 10 1st form Math classes (I’m generally set towards maths). That same year, I received my master’s degree, and the master’s program included innovations in the topic Values and how to teach it in elementary school. I tried to use everything new that I learned there in that lesson.

I also developed Maths lessons for 3rd form school students. And this summer, I’ve made five 4th form lessons on Values. I’ve developed 17 Maths lessons in total, which are actively used by colleagues from Moscow schools. Now I’m working on an interdisciplinary lesson (Russian / Maths / English) togather with an English teacher.

I also like to create interactive applications (there are already 66). Here I am not limited to Maths. I develop applications in all subjects (Literary Reading, World Around Us, Russian Language, Technology). When we study an interesting topic, I always want my students to start working, solving and training the right away. As a rule, students really like to work in the MES. At the lesson, everyone wants to go up to the interactive whiteboard, to show, answer questions, move with pleasure. After all, the application is an interactive product! This also applies to homework. I often attach various educational materials to the homework in an electronic journal: applications, lessons, tests, and so on. It happens that children are reluctant to do standard homework. But things are different with applications.

I also created two electronic textbooks. They look like a mini-reference book, a mini-textbook on a narrow topic. One textbook on the topic Values. Units of measurement is already actively used by other teachers, the other is still being moderated. The textbook includes a description of the topic, training exercises, testing for the development of knowledge, video clips and interesting facts are attached. And all this is connected, of course, with Moscow. Using my textbook in studies, children can virtually walk around Moscow. It is interesting for me to create educational materials in the MES, using my knowledge and skills in the content, to share it with others. This is a good exchange of experience.

I use plans of other teachers from the MES library. I can't cover everything and create it myself anyway. When I need something I don’t have, I find it in the MES library. Here’s a wonderful search function with filters by topic, authors, level of education, types of material and so on.

This project helps not only teachers and students, but also parents. You can work out complex topics that each child has his or her own, in class or individually at home. Even if the child is ill, I send his or her parents a lesson that on the topic, not necessarily my own. The parents study it with the child. If something is not clear, they can ask me. But I made sure the child knows the subject.

I’ve become interested in the MES because it is modern, technological and covers everything that we do in school. It included all modern educational technologies: interactive, learning through play, information technologies, distance and e-learning. In the future, I believe, the MES should grow into a wider and more high-profile project covering all educational areas: extracurricular, out-of-school activities, contests, competitions, and so on.”

Ildar Khusainov, a computer science teacher at school No. 1034

He has been working at school for 10 years, has been the best class teacher and received a grant for his contribution to the MES development. He has uploaded more than 10 lesson plans to the project library, including those on robotics.

“I learned about the MES as a new opportunity to use modern information technologies effectively. And from the moment the project became part of the education system of the capital, my colleagues and I began to develop plans, upload them to the library and use all the capabilities of the Moscow Electronic School.

I developed lesson plans on popular topics for my subject - information coding, modelling, information measurement. I also created plans for robotics, in particular, Lego lessons, and interdisciplinary ones - Homeland Lesson about Moscow, a lesson that was popular with colleagues on September 1. I have uploaded more than 10 lesson plans into the MES library.

At first, it took me a long time to make a plan. Because, first, we had to master the tool, and second, in order to make a new lesson in a new format with new features, you need to choose the necessary material. When everything is ready, it doesn’t take long to arrange the lesson elements. Now that we understand how this tool works, of course, work is going faster.

When you are creating a plan from scratch, you can take a fresh look at your practices. You update them in the course of time, using new information: links, resources, opportunities. Each teacher can look at the same lesson in a different way.

It is possible to say the following about students' reaction: first the MES was a kind of surprise, and at that time we said that it was a new opportunity to motivate the students. They watched a video and wrote something right away, then they made an interactive task. All in one place, and it really brought out some true emotions and delight. Now it has become familiar: we already know how it works, and we use it every day.

Everything is in one place, and the teacher does not waste time opening one material, then moving on to another. We can provide students with some material without printing it on paper, while being within the same information platform, we can indicate this in the homework or give a link to the same lesson. The MES is not only an electronic board. It is also an electronic diary and journal. It’s convenient for parents, they are well aware of the success of their child. This is a management tool for both the teacher and the parent, and of course, the administration as well.

After brainstorming with colleagues, we propose ideas for improving the MES, send them to the technical service. In the near future, we plan to create joint lesson plans with colleagues. We are already accustomed to working with joint cloud documents, and such an opportunity in the MES will indeed be very helpful. We understand that the student’s knowledge should relate not only to one subject, he or she should gain knowledge for real life in all disciplines.”