UNESCO IITE conducted an international webinar on school education during the COVID-19 pandemic

UNESCO IITE in partnership with UNESCO ASPnet National Coordinator in the Russian Federation and Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO organized a webinar via Zoom on 20 April 2020, dedicated to the use of advanced technologies for supporting school education during the pandemic outbreak. Experts from different countries shared their practices and expertise on school ICT readiness for e-learning, assessment of educational outcomes in online mode, professional development and advanced training for pedagogues in the e-learning environment and psychological support for parents and learners. Over 150 participants from 6 countries (Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, China and the United Arab Emirates) in total attended the webinar.

The webinar was moderated by Ms Natalia Amelina, Senior National Project Officer in Education and Chief of the Unit of Teacher Professional Development and Networking of UNESCO IITE, and by Ms Galina Konyaeva, Programme Assistant, UNESCO IITE. At the opening of the event, Mr Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE, and Ms Julie Saito, Chief of the International Coordination Team of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet), UNESCO’s Headquarters (Paris, France), addressed the participants with welcoming remarks and presented the ways how schools can unite to help each other during this challenging time. Ms Julie Saito presented information that UNESCO ASPnet team launched a solidarity newsletter to keep all the members connected, published links to distance learning solutions with the #LearningNeverStops, and initiated a series of webinars on Global Citizenship Education Project (GCED) as well as the “Webinar on COVID-19: Reflections by the ASP community”, which is going to take place on 7 May.

On behalf of UNESCO ASPnet National Coordinator in the Russian Federation Ms Nella Pruss, UNESCO ASPnet Executive Director Ms Natalia Larionova and Executive Director of the UNEVOC Center, Head of Professional Educational Technology Department and Head of Pilot Implementation of Digital and 3D Technologies at the University of Management “TISBI” (Kazan, Russia) Ms Elena Aleksandrova welcomed the participants. Ms Alexandrova emphasized the challenges all teachers faced due to pandemic, such as legal regulation of education process, unpreparedness of some institutions to provide online lessons, unequal access to Internet, and difficulty with organizing learning at home for children with disabilities. All of this led to the conclusion that nowadays teacher need to create new scenarios for keeping the education process going.

Ms Svetlana Knyazeva, Senior National Project Officer in Education and Chief of the Unit of Digital Pedagogy and Learning Materials of UNESCO IITE, presented the new crash course “Be an online tutor in 24 hours” launched by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) in collaboration with UNESCO IITE. This free course is available in 5 languages and has already attracted teachers from 81 countries. Chief of Unit of ICT in Health Education of UNESCO IITE Mr Tigran Yepoyan outlined the worries and psychological problems that youth and parents have because of COVID-19 crisis. Mr Yepoyan presented UNESCO IITE and UNAIDS developed information cards with tips for parents and teachers to support their children and students and several online counseling services and helplines for children and adolescents. He highlighted the importance of social and emotional development of children and proper communication between children and parents on topics related to health, integrity, self-awareness, and building relationships with people.

Professor of Shandong University (China) Mr Li Jiangang and Principal of Affiliated School of Shandong University Dr Zhao Yong shared the Chinese experience of e-learning process management that included online resources, multilateral assessment, blended learning, and special guidance on independent learning for students. Deputy Director on ICT from Baku European Lyceum (Azerbaijan) Ms Rahilya Aliyarzadeh highlighted essential digital and universal metacognitive skills that pedagogues have to teach every student for knowledge acquisition especially during the time of pandemic, and also mentioned that online learning caused a threat to cyber safety of students. Representatives from Russian ASPnet schools shared the experience of how teachers, students and parents interact for ensuring smooth and effective online learning, as well as demonstrated resources, students’ videos, assessment tools and Learning Management Systems (LMS) used by their schools to make learning trouble-free for teachers and more engaging for students.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Ms Natalia Amelina thanked all the participants for their valuable contribution and proposed conducting series of webinars on different topics such as interim and final assessment, introduction of online tools (platforms from Google and Yandex), psychological support to students and parents and other relevant to the current situation themes.

Please find below the full recording of the webinar in Russian and the speakers presentations.

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