Archive for December 28, 2010

My Main Goals for Teaching in KZ (Part IV)

“What AM I doing in Kazakhstan?” My husband and I think aloud on that question often, but we continue to prevail when the doubts assail.  We survived when we lived and taught in Kyiv, Ukraine for a total of about seven or eight years.  That former Soviet country was good training ground for what we hope to accomplish while living in Astana, Kazakhstan.  The following is more of the report that I worked on last week that has been translated into Russian for the benefit of those working for the Ministry of Education. Perhaps my future goals seem a bit outlandish, even for my American or British friends.  I realize not everyone is enamored by computers or modern technology, they prefer old school methods and sticking to the textbooks.  However, I think that Kazakhstan was created for such a time as this Information Explosion and to capitalize on it because it can join the global competition electronically. Well, read on, I get carried away on this and I think should go out and cross country ski.  The down side of technology is that it can mean a LOT of sitting at the computer and not as much exercise.

“One last note after looking at the Global Competitiveness Report which is relevant to the goal of achieving the 2030 mandate of being in the top 50 of nations in the world.  There are 130 indicators when measuring whether a country is actually in the upper percentiles with the following nine pillars:

  1. institutions
  2. infrastructures
  3. macroeconomics
  4. health and primary education
  5. higher education and training
  6. market efficiency
  7. technological readiness
  8. business sophistication
  9. innovation

As a teacher and designer of the PDP classes, I am concerned with at least four of these indicators: institutions, primary education, higher education and training, technological readiness and innovation.  I know the President of Kazakhstan wants the future students of his university to be using nanotechnologies.  This can only happen if computer technology is brought to all parts of Kazakhstan even to the rural areas.  I can envision teachers using Kindle readers or Nook readers that have “ginormous” libraries to support them.  This avoids the transportation costs of bringing expensive books and textbooks to the farthest reaches of Kazakhstan.

I also can see distance learning being used from the center of Astana to where students have access to video conferencing and using Moodle where they are living in Kazakhstan. The teachers or guest speakers are viewed on screens and these videotapings can be used over again. Communication is handled through forums or chatrooms between teacher and students on the Moodle platform. I can also predict that something like Edusoft with its pre-packaged instructional programs will help teachers who are computer savvy enough to use the lessons and the quizzes. There are custom made tests that are standardized so that the different levels can be accomplished from beginner to advanced.  Fortunately, there is IT support in Russian for all these lessons in English. Also this Edusoft can be modified where the Kazakh language can be used and learned simultaneously alongside the English lessons.”

(to be continued)


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