Posts tagged Edusoft

My Main Goals for Teaching in KZ (Part V)

Just a year ago I taught academic English courses in Almaty at a westernized university.  I had the rare privilege of teaching 100 Kazakh students in five different classes. I was dedicated to teaching to the best of my abilities in the given environment.  However, a few of the Kazakh or Kazakhstani teachers at this university were hostile to what I was attempting to do as a foreigner.  Yes, I would even say some of the Kazakh administrators didn’t want their boat to be rocked that they were comfortably sitting in.  They were of the camp of “this is the way we have always done it.”  However, in some cases they made up their own rules to maintain power that they had scratched and clawed to achieve over the worker bees. (I left behind some very good Kazakh teachers and students)  All are hurt by these extreme politics where the supposed “winners,” who are paid very well, are those still in control. They are clueless to the changes going on in the rest of the world through modern technology. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW!!!

I can’t even imagine the rancor and animosity that exists in my former place of employment in Almaty.  I feel very blessed to be a part of this new vision at the new university in Astana.  I am surrounded by Kazakh teachers who are very teachable. Therefore, I think that their testimonies to what is innovative and of modern technology is my best advocate for why I  continue to teach in Kazakhstan.  Please read on what the Ministry of Education people are reading of my year end report translated into Russian. I want my hopeful tone of change to ring true for them. The best is for them to read what their own Kazakh teachers think and what they have experienced this past fall semester.

VI. My PDP students comments on a range of things they have learned over the last ten weeks:

Student #1 “Edusoft is a new software program which helps us teach our students.  We can add new units, different topics for our students.  Mainly, we will be able to control our students’ achievement and progress with the help of this program.  When I was a student, I used this program.  But it was very old version. Compared with old version, new one is convenient and more useful for us (for teachers) and also for students.”

Student #2 “I especially liked the product from EduSoft as I was familiar with this program beforehand at Orken school.  All our teachers liked it and sent their thoughts on this program to the management company of Orken.  But no attention was given to that program….So EduSoft gives us lots of opportunities to supervise the students’ progress.  At the same time making the content of the program on our own, which really encourages the students to learn real English.  In general, it would be better to set this program up especially for schools in Kazakhstan. I’m sure it will affect the students’ progress and increase their interests to learn English.”

Student #3 “It is always interesting to go through different kinds of courses and studying something new is of course challenging. However, teachers must always study something new in order to keep up to date with new generation and to be always interesting for the students, otherwise, it won’t motivate students from someone who is behind.  Nowadays our new generation is very computerized and of course, we, as the teachers, have to bring new technologies in our classes and create new methods of teaching.  And here at the university [in our PDP classes] we are learning so many useful things that will help me to gradually create new method of teaching. And, of course, there are still so many things for me to learn and I don’t want to stop learning them.”

Student #4 “I want to use everything I learnt here.  I didn’t know about the power of Internet before, now I appreciate it so much!  We have interactive boards at our schools and an access to internet (though not to all the sites) so I can show everything to them [students]. I like especially blogging – it can develop our students’ cognitive skills, writing skills, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, everything. We can achieve several aims by blogging – educational, cultural, upbringing.  Educational means grammar, vocabulary, spelling.  Upbringing – learn to hear other people’s opinions and respect them but at the same time defend your own.  Cultural – you learn more about some new things, culture, traditions of other countries. It’s great!!!

Student #5 “www:whenever, whatever, wherever”

As you may have guessed already, this is about opportunities with access to Internet

“Whenever” is the convenience I had and have: I can accomplish my assignments whenever I am free and want to.  Just have to finish till due time. Yay!!! To NU Public Wi-fi

“Whatever” is the opportunities to be heard and to be paid attention throughout the world with Internet access.  The most important right now for me is my blog and my surveys.  I pity one thing, that I was not introduced to Survey Monkey or Web Master Survey long before when I wrote my paper for Pedagogical Institute.

“Wherever” is the dimension I got with blogging.  Wherever you go and wherever you could be, if  you just click you URL for your blog, you will be again have followers to your blogsite. Dimension is that anyone from any corner of the universe no matter Spaniard, English or German can read about things happening here in Kazakhstan, know something about Kazakhstan.”

Student #6 “I like the idea of using blogging to develop learners’ writing and what’s more essential, decision making abilities.  Sure, it won’t be easy to start a new trend in Kazakh schools. We face the problems of schools not sufficiently provided with computers and of course, not every student has access to the Internet both at school and at home…Using blogging on the writing lessons has many advantages, the students write willingly; they enlarge their vocabulary and learn to work independently.”

(to be continued)

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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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