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Learning through games is a natural process

The 32nd conference Modern ICT in Education (ITO 2021) took place on June 29-30. This year the conference is being held online for the second time, which made it possible to significantly increase the number of speakers and participants: over 800 experts from 48 Russian regions as well as Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kazakhstan joined the online sessions. The participants listened to almost 90 reports and took part in 12 workshops.

At the same time with the ITO conference, the fourth Russian Children’s Conference, Smart World by Children’s Hands, took place. This is a conference on school and student scientific and IT projects where over 70 students presented their reports.

The Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ partnered the event, and its Director Andrey Vorobyev, along with Executive Director of the Bytik Foundation Darya Kalabukhova, moderated the plenary session that opened the conference. Andrey Vorobyev noted that over the entire history of the conference, more than 17,000 teachers from all over Russia and neighboring countries who use IT in their work took part in it, and in recent years the number of conference participants has increased significantly.

“The pandemic year has opened a window of opportunity for the accelerated digitalization of all processes,” added Andrey Vorobyev.

The plenary session speakers included Chair of the conference’s Organizing Committee, Head of the Troitsk City District Vladimir Dudochkin, Service Marketing Director at Yandex Andrei Sebrant, Cognitive Technologies founder and CEO Olga Uskova, Curator of the Altair Children’s Technology Park Vera Rogova, Employer Branding Expert at Coca-Cola HBC Russia Yekaterina Puzankova, Department Head at the Moscow State Pedagogic University Andrei Naumov, Deputy Director for Digital Education at the Skolkovo International Gymnasium Maria Kosse, and Head of the Department of Theory and Methods of Teaching Mathematics and Informatics, Merited Teacher of Russia Lyudmila Bosova.

A most interesting report, New Riches in Education Choices, was delivered by Andrei Sebrant, who talked about how the approach to education had changed in recent years, and, in particular, to education in high-tech areas.

“The pandemic took us 10 years into the future, and all our talk about professional and education trajectories should change due to this,” Andrei Sebrant noted. The conversation was on the variability of trajectories, the fact that there can be many trajectories or directions; and not just trajectories, but also goals can change.

“The people who created the internet could not be taught how to create the internet, they could not set such goals: these words were not in the lexicon back then. Goals had to be changed, and trajectories were adjusted many times,” the speaker said. He emphasized that today students should be taught to choose and change their goals with quality.

On June 30, the Coordination Center’s Project Department Head Olga Yakovleva spoke at the Informatics and Programming section with a report on ways to increase the digital literacy of students through games using example from Explore the Internet & Govern It, a successful education project.

“Learning though gaming is a natural process for Gen Z. Despite the seeming shallowness, gameplay can captivate children much more than a traditional lesson,” Olga said. She also cited data from an industry study on children’s Runet published by the Internet Research Institute in March 2020. According to the study, 59 percent of children play online, watch and record their own streams; 52 percent watch movies, cartoons, and videos; and only 42 percent use educational content. The educational project of the Coordination Center is designed to give children knowledge through games in a fun and friendly format.

Over almost 10 years of its existence, more than 150,000 children have taken part in the Explore the Internet & Govern It project. Over 20,000 schoolchildren and students participate in the championship every year. The website has over 130 games and 750 quiz questions on various internet-related topics from the history of the global internet to rules of behavior on the internet and basic cybersecurity.

In 2021, the Explore the Internet & Govern It championship will present its tenth, anniversary edition. Registration opens on August 17, and the championship will be held on November 9-25. “Digital state” will be the theme of the 2021 championship.

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