Digital Pedagogy | Digital Russia

About the author: Dmitry ChistovDoctor of Economics, Professor of Financial University.

Accounts Chamber published on Thursday, the report “Assessment of measures for the introduction of digital technologies in educational institutions of general education.”

As it should be in this department, the author of the document is busy counting the money spent on the digitalization of general education. I was surprised to find that 27.6 billion was spent in 2021.

But not only money. It was stated that there is no “strategy for the development of the education sector, including principles, priorities, goals and objectives of digital transformation that are cross-cutting (common) for all levels of education”. It is also said that “in 2016–2018, events [связанные с применением IT в школах] were mainly related to the development of digital educational content, then since 2019 the issues of logistics and connecting schools to the Internet have been addressed as a priority. By digital transformation, it seemed to me, I meant mainly distance learning.

In the recommendations related, in particular, to the development of the mentioned (and currently absent) strategy, the entire burden of digital transformation is intended for the school teacher. He will have “systematic training and retraining for the correct methodical use of digital technologies and tools.” He is waiting for “an increase (original style – ed.) in the qualifications of school teachers on artificial intelligence.” He will have to provide the authorities with the indicator “the share of teaching staff using the services of the federal information and service platform of the digital educational environment,%”.

The point is not in the specifics of the activities of the joint venture, which led to these recommendations. No, this is how we generally relate to the digitalization of pedagogical activity. Since the mid-2000s, the main thing here is to bring the Internet to school, and not what the school will do with this Internet.

Distance learning at a university, as covid times have shown, is an acceptable way out. If you can not study in a university classroom, you can study “on the Internet.” But this is a university where they give an IT specialty. Neither the student nor the teacher experiences difficulties, even, perhaps, on the contrary, it is more convenient to study IT at the computer. I would draw an analogy with the training of pilots, when the student and the instructor are in the same cockpit: a normal pedagogical process.

An airplane cockpit, in the analogy, is educational content. If it exists, the teacher and the student have something to work on together. If not, distance learning turns into ordinary learning, only flawed, when live communication between the teacher and the student is replaced by a talking picture on the monitor.

There were such technologies at Hogwarts, but, I remember, the professors did not use them there – on the contrary, the children were collected for the whole semester in a boarding school, no online.

However, in our country (another surprising piece of information contained in the SP report), school educational content accounted for only 5.9% of the funds spent by the state in 2016–2021 “on the introduction of digital technologies in educational institutions of general education.” The digitalization of the material and technical base of schools, for comparison, accounted for 59.8%. This is not counting the cost of IT infrastructure (another 9.6%).

Without educational content, by the way, “the share of teaching staff using the services of the federal information and service platform” also makes no sense. Teachers need skills only in connection with digital educational content, i.e. specific applications for digital learning.

Actually, educational content is the digital transformation of schooling. Bringing the Internet to school is only a condition, but not the meaning of such a transformation. To think otherwise means to give “digital” education at the mercy of IT specialists. What we have, judging by the figures of the joint venture, is happening.

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