DIGITALIZATION OF TRADITIONAL FORMS OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING

Research article
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.18454/RULB.2022.33.5
Issue: № 5 (33), 2022
Suggested:
09.07.2022
Accepted:
15.08.2022
Published:
09.09.2022
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Abstract

The article considers the issue of digitalization of the educational process. The relevance of the article is due to the motivated integration of digital educational resources into traditional teaching methods aimed at the formation of communicative competence. The aim of the article is to highlight the possibilities of digital tools in the educational process via the distance format. The author describes two main forms of distance learning: online classes and e-learning courses used by the teaching instructors of the university. The article emphasizes that using digital teaching methods in educational process has great prospects, the examples of the use of electronic training courses are presented.

1. Introduction

Digitalization as one of the steps of the globalization is a mainstream among modern resources in the education. The conversion to distance activities during the pandemic times predetermined the transition to digital educational technologies - online learning - designed to implement informational, motivational and controlling tasks in the teaching process. The relevance of the article is thus due to the motivated integration of cyber (digital) resources and technologies into the educational process. And the student is to solve standard tasks of professional activity on the basis of information and bibliographic culture with the use of information and communication technologies as the modern society demands. A necessary condition of modernization in the era of constantly changing information space for higher education, according to Federal Law No. 273-F3 from 29.12.2012 "Education in the Russian Federation", is the use of information and communication technologies in the educational process aimed at forming a new type of person who can work with information obtained [8]. The National project "Education" plans “to create by 2024 in all educational institutions a modern and secure digital educational environment that ensures high quality and accessibility of education on all levels” [5].

2. Research methods and principles

The article analyzes the theoretical material on the integration of digital technologies into the modern educational process, the possibilities of practical application of digital tools in foreign language classes are given. The author uses empirical and descriptive methods. Modern education must have digital resources for effective organization of tuition.

3. Main results

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are understood as the use of methods and techniques for collecting, transmitting and storing information in digital form in personal, mass and industrial communication. The process of introducing ICT was very slow and unstable at that time, until life made its adjustments in 2019: the pandemic forced educational institutions to switch to a distance learning format. The conversion from traditional forms of education to digital ones has revealed a contradiction: the role of pedagogical influence of the teacher is significantly limited, and the facilities of organizing and optimizing the quality of education are increasing due to modern digital technologies. According to E.S. Polat, this form of training is aimed at the interaction of participants in the teaching process at a distance using information and communication methods and multimedia technologies [6, P. 118]. Grigoriev A.V. notes in this regard: "... the digitalization of education not only determines the emergence of new areas of scientific knowledge, pedagogical approaches and methods, but also radically changes the educational process" [3, P. 32].

Distance learning is the form of learning, where the interaction of the teacher and students, and students with each other is carried out at a distance and reflects all the components inherent in the educational process: goals, content, methods, organizational forms, teaching aids [2, P. 56]. Let’s consider two main forms of distance learning: online classes with interactive participation of the teacher and the trainees by video conferencing platforms - Zoom, Skype, Discord, Google Meet, BigBlueButton. The teacher organizes conferences on these platforms, provides an opportunity for students to actively attend them and can give lectures, conduct seminars and practical classes. The possibilities of these digital resources are diverse and create the effect of a "live" presence of the teacher: trainees receive new information, train via a series of exercises, discuss any issues with each other and the instructor. The teacher tracks, corrects, controls, evaluates the rates of retention, i.e. there is an effective feedback. So we base on the traditional communicative method using digital technologies. There is a process of using software tools and educational systems to support traditional teaching methods. “The training functions are transferred to some extent to the software (systems) used for educational purposes and, therefore, each program should be built in accordance with the didactic principles of traditional teaching that determine the didactic requirements for teaching staff” [7, P. 20]. Marcus George, an American researcher, believes that only the integrated use of tools: an online platform, an electronic textbook with interactive links between theoretical and practical blocks, video resources and interactive reference books, feedback systems, digital tests will lead to high results [9, P. 12]. Distance learning can be provided regardless of the geographical location of the trainees and is limited sometimes by the number of listeners, as well as the availability of the Internet in remote locations.

The next form of distance learning is considered to be developed courses in the disciplines, placed in the distance learning system (DLS) of our educational institution. At DLS of Bashkir State University (BSU), the courses are developed on the basis of the MOODLE platform. “Moodle is a free and open-source learning management system (LMS) written in PHP and distributed under (GNU) General Public License. Developed on pedagogical principles, Moodle is used for blended learning, distance education, flipped classroom and other e-learning projects in schools, universities” [10]. This platform is characterized by accessibility and flexibility and is designed for multi-level categories of trainees. "Providing access to the platform and its content from any remote point of the country and the world is another of its absolute advantages in comparison with traditional teaching methods," emphasizes Marinina Yu.A. [4, P. 221]. Teachers develop content - their own e-learning courses (ELC) -   theory and practical exercises, audio and video materials, tests, based on work programs of disciplines. Then the ELC is tested and approved at the department of Foreign Languages and at the Information Educational Technologies Department. The educational material is presented in the form of lectures in the format of Word or PDF documents, as well as in audio and video files. In addition, it is possible to organize seminars, track attendance and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the results of all students' tests, monitor errors and the quality of questions. "... The task of the teacher is to coordinate the actions of the student and constantly monitor the learning process network interaction" [1, P. 16]. Moodle has a large set of interactive elements: forums, glossaries, blogs, chats and video conferences. Students can provide answers in the form of presentations, documents, and receive information about the results of the tests they have passed. In addition, Moodle implements all the necessary mechanisms to protect from unauthorized access. This form of e-learning is designed more for self-study of students. Contact working with the teacher is minimized.

Teachers of our department have developed courses in DLS of BSU in all the disciplines. For example, my courses: Foreign language -1, Foreign language - 2, Business English, English in scientific research and English in professional communication. While working on the course, difficulties arose when choosing digital tools: the lack of any methodological developments in this area and practical skills in the use of electronic educational resources affected.

Let's consider the course in the distance learning system of BSU "Foreign language -1" for the first-year bachelors of non-linguistic specialties. The course consists of instructional, informational, communicative and control blocks. The instructional block presents methodological guidelines for the study of the course, methodological guidelines for independent work of students, evaluation criteria and training schedule. The information block contains theory-information of English grammar, professional texts, topics and exercises to train the material passed. The answers are attached by the trainees in the system in the form of Word and PDF files before the deadline set by the teachers. The works are evaluated by the teacher in the traditional way, and grades-points are entered into the system. The university uses a cumulative point-rating system of assessment, guided by the principle of continuous student learning. In addition to the traditional theory in the "book" format, we introduce video tutorials from educational electronic resources (britishcouncil.org, onestopenglish.com, BBC) and from popular bloggers-teachers (englex, "bearded linguist"). Communication with students is carried out via the communicative block (forum), where questions and topics for discussion are introduced. It also provides the opportunity to organize video conferences using the BBB (BigBlueButton) platform element of the course, which is extremely necessary for practical foreign language classes and seminars of special disciplines. Using BBB tools, the educator can introduce new theoretical material at the offline level, examine students, correct mistakes in the interactive whiteboard mode, and have feedback from students. Almost all classes in the distance format have been held recently on this platform. But there is a drawback of this system: a limited number of users and frequent problems with connections and "reconnections". (An alternative for BBB can be considered a ZOOM platform that is not "tied" to the Moodle system). In the testing unit, the students pass the tests on modules. Participants of the course can take the tests in strictly defined time set by the teacher, the system evaluates them and gives the points in a special block. While finishing the course, the system determines the standards of learning of the students and summarizes the results by deducing credits.

4. Discussion

We did a survey among students and teachers of our university. Analysis of the survey results showed that the majority of respondents believe that digital learning has its positive aspects, as well as some negative ones. The vast majority of students support the digital learning format and are motivated to continue studying in a mixed format. Distance learning is a good alternative for the effective development of educational material and its consolidation.

It should be noted that the level of assimilation of theoretical material in distance learning with the use of digital technologies is not lower than the level with traditional forms of education, which is confirmed by a survey among students of technical specialities studying a foreign language: 78% of respondents believe that the knowledge gained via well-designed courses in DLS is in no way inferior to the "offline" knowledge. From my point of view, I can state the following: the test (Modal Verbs) performed by students in the traditional form and via distance learning gives almost the same qualitative percentage – about 64% (62% to 66%). But the survey among teachers of special disciplines presents a slightly different picture: 94% of respondents insist on the impossibility of giving practical skills (laboratory work, experiments) via digital educational resources. They insist on contact work, because students get practical skills by performing practical exercises with the direct participation and supervision of a teacher in the laboratory.

5. Conclusion

At present, the self-isolation regime in Russia has been canceled, we have returned to off-line tuition. And the issue of integrating distance learning into traditional education is obvious. The experience of teaching in a distance format has shown that modern digital technologies positively change pedagogical approaches and methods, expand the educational space, provide new facilities for the entire educational process, and contribute to increasing the resources of the educational environment. Education should have hybrid form: distance learning with the involvement of offline classes for practical and laboratory work. Digitalization of education is an important stage on the way to a successful and effective organization of tuition.

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