January School of Online-Distant Education in “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex

Author:

Sofia Aivazyan

 

Introduction

Students get online or distant education without attending schools or without taking part in classes organized in physical environment. They take part in the educational process and get educational services through systems of modern Information and Communications Technology. Schools usually organize distant education for the children who for some reason are unable to attend school. This type of education has been practiced at “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex for several years. Moreover, the process of distant and online education is controlled over as learners can work with their individual schedule using electronic literature, blogs and email keeping in touch with teachers.

The necessity of implementation of new technologies in education is dictated by modern rapidly changing world, and the ICT means have an essential influence on the learner’s development. Every teacher of “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex will confirm that by using these tools in class or at home, the learners reveal new interests, improve the effectiveness of learning, and reduce the loss of time. The learners also get an opportunity to widen the scope of their research and to find solutions to more questions.            

 

Is distant online learning effective?

There is no doubt that it is. The 2016 January flu epidemic paralyzed the educational process at Armenian schools. Children didn’t attend educational institutions for a whole month, yet nothing prevented the learners and the staff of “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex from continuing the educational process because distant online education was put to the forefront.

The results of distant online education organized at Middle school in January were quite satisfying. While organizing online education the teachers were using social networks and emails. The tasks in different subjects were carefully formed and published in the teachers’ blogs.

Let me show some examples of our teachers’ work done during this period of distant online teaching. Tatev Abrahamyan, an Armenian teacher, has written in her blog: “I consider the translations done by small groups of learners during these three weeks to be important. Additional tasks were also sent to all the learners.”

Armenian teacher Arevik Nersisyan’s tasks were interesting in the sense that while fulfilling them the learners could involve the members of their families. So fulfilling tasks became a family activity. Nowadays we can often hear that ICT means remove close relations from each other and that family members, living in the same apartment, less and less talk to each other or discuss some matters as each of them is busy with his/her computer or cell-phone. The fulfillment of the tasks compiled by our teachers can become family activities. They can be fulfilled by involving friends or family members. Here is an example: “Make a presentation about your family members or friends who do not study at our Educomplex. The presentation may be in the form of an interesting story, radio material or a video film. Find out if they use the following digital gadgets: a computer, cell-phone, cameras. If it is possible make this presentation with your friend or family member.”            

 Here is another task: “Write down good wishes in different Armenian dialects.” The fulfillment of this task can be a fun activity in the family, and this one is Christine Minasyan’s audio material.      

With the help of distant teaching-learning process the fulfillment of the programmes of musical education also became an ongoing process. A large number of learners fulfilled Mary Arakelyan’s tasks.     
Hermine Antonyan’s, a teacher of Mathematics, methodology of distant online teaching is lively and interesting. While fulfilling the task in Google Drive the learner can immediately ask his questions to the teacher or his friends, and the teacher answers them. This kind of work makes task fulfillment a friendly online talk among classmates and the teacher.  

Here is another example on Physics: an experiment.  Gayane Ohanyan, an 8th grader, has made a video film telling about an experiment on Physics (teacher: Gayane Mkhitaryan).

 Distant teaching in physical training has also been practiced. Don’t get surprised: besides everyday out-door games (also in January) Naira Harutyunyan sent tasks in physical training to her students. The tasks can be seen in her athletic blog.

All the Middle School teachers took part in distant teaching-learning process. They have formed tasks, organized discussions and consultations. Most of the learners fulfilled the tasks. We can read information about how the students fulfilled the tasks in the teachers’ blogs.

 Now let me say a few words about January Flash mobs on different school subjects. We call online school subject tasks “Flash mobs”. These Flash mob tasks are usually very interesting parents or other family members are also welcome to take part in answering the questions or solving problems. In January it was an online teaching-learning process not only for the learners and parents of our Educomplex but also for the learners from other regions of Armenia and outside Armenia.

I think that these Flash mobs are rapidly getting into many houses and apartments. Chess Flash mob is also organized.

Vanuhi Baghmanyan, a teacher at our Educomplex, has written about the Flash mob in the Armenian Language.

It is a well-known fact that the high school students of Grades 11 and 12 are usually the most difficult to be controlled over. They are passive and without any initiatives. They only think of preparing for their entrance exams to universities. It seemed that it would be more difficult to organize a distant teaching-learning for the high school students. But we stated that online teaching-learning process enlarges the learners’ opportunities to learn better because they study and do project work whenever and wherever it is convenient for them, and it has a good effect on their learning results. That is also reflected in their blogs. There are students who worked during the whole period of distant online learning school. There are also students who didn’t publish anything in their blogs until the last day. We can seldom encounter two very similar works. Rewriting from one another has been common in all the times but blog based teaching-learning almost entirely restrains it.

Distant online teaching at “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex in January 2016 was unique in its contents and directions where learners, teachers and parents had their participation, and an ongoing process of learning wasn’t stopped. I think it was a good example for other educational institutions.                 

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