Back to School: Tech Talk in Russian Classrooms

Classes are in full swing as Russian students are closing in on the second full week of school.  Summer vacation is long gone and history, math, science, and foreign languages are now at the center of their worlds – for many their academic world lives in a computer.  Technology is playing an important role in many Russian classrooms, not just in major cities.

Last year, a Moscow-based Russian news station covered the expanding technological innovations in Russian classrooms.  Biology teachers are using smart-boards to explain their lessons with greater interactive visuals, while math teachers are calling students to the smart-board to edit graphs and equations with the touch of their finger.

English language teachers are playing dialogues with visuals on their smart-boards.  Meanwhile, a classroom of second graders sits with a Mac Book at every desk during lessons.  As described by the reporter, “notebooks will soon be museums exhibits.”  Several schools are also now integrating tablets – namely iPads – into their classroom lessons.

Innovation is not just for the students and teachers, but parents as well.  Parents have access to an e-Grade book that reports on student attendance and grades.  The free educational service site dnevnik.ru and the portal edutainme.ru jointly conducted research on parents’ relationships towards educational innovation by surveying 30,000 Russian parents.  According to the study, 60% of parents support educational technology games.  Furthermore, almost a third of all parents are in favor of replacing all school books with more technological teaching supplies.

Parents and students recognize how much technology is impacting academic life. Almost 70% of students use the Internet to search for topics related to their school lessons.  It therefore doesn’t come as a big shock that almost half of parents are prepared to purchase their children electronic textbooks but only in addition to their paper textbooks.  Although a portion of parents thought e-textbooks weren’t necessarily more effective in teaching but more interesting to students.  Perhaps if the parents learned in a technologically advanced classroom, they may feel differently!