More interesting and higher-quality teaching with new technologies
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF and its partners have been providing support to the education system
Podgorica, 27 May 2022 – Although new technologies cannot replace a good teacher, digital tools are helping Marija Bojic to make teaching better and more interesting for her students. This English language teacher is encouraging generations of students who are growing up with electronic devices to think critically and be creative in their learning. Through “Improving the quality and inclusiveness of education in the digital environment”, a programme implemented by the Bureau of Education Services and UNICEF, Marija is trying to convey the idea of the importance of digital education to her colleagues from Montenegro. Teachers are being encouraged to use Dixit cards, that can be used to cover a variety of topics, as well as digital tools such as Padlet, Mentimeter, Wordwall and Quizlet, and the opportunities provided by the Digital School online learning platform (www.digitalnaskola.edu.me).
The use of digital instruments in teaching is essential because we live in a digital world, and it is necessary to make schools part of that world.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, her students have started using various digital tools and following classes online.
“They like playing video games, so the use of digital technologies in the classroom is not foreign to them. I have noticed that they like to research and create on their own, so I have continued to encourage them,” she says.
Developing one of the three modules within the programme titled “Improving the quality and inclusiveness of education in the digital environment,” Ms. Bojic tried to make the activities she recommends to her colleagues adaptable to all subjects, not only to language teaching ones. Over 1,200 teachers from Montenegro participated in training for the use of digital education during 2021/2022.
“Thanks to working with my colleagues and exchanging ideas, I learned that some of the activities can be implemented differently from the original idea. For that reason, the exchange of experiences and interactions is invaluable,” she says.
Although teachers are willing to use digital technologies in teaching, teacher Marija Bojic believes that the conditions in which teachers work are not the same everywhere, and it is not possible to expect that the use of new technologies will be at the same level.
“During online teaching, all teachers, by force of circumstances, quickly mastered the new technologies necessary for this kind of teaching. Now we have to combine and apply digital instruments in regular classes, encouraging interactivity, individualizing our approach and opening up opportunities for lifelong learning,” the teacher adds.
Using digital tools, a group of students from Oktoih Elementary School in Podgorica marked the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and facilitated discussion about the causes and consequences of this disaster.
“We presented this topic to younger students using PowerPoint. Through a combination of foreign languages, songs, videos, text, recitations, history and physics, they discussed the causes and consequences of the disaster,” says Ivana Srbljanovic, a ninth-grade student. She is extremely satisfied with this type of teaching, where, with the help of teachers and the use of digital technologies, students can be creative and present complex topics.
Learning during the pandemic was interesting because it was new to us and motivated us to do better in the online environment. However, we felt the absence of friends, teachers and face-to-face interaction that nothing can replace.
Nevena Cabrilo, head of the Department for International Cooperation and Public Relations at the Bureau of Education Services and coordinator of this programme, believes that building an education system that is resilient to crises after the pandemic is a demanding and complex process and that a greater level of preparedness is needed for future potentially similar events.
This programme has great potential for the application of various teaching strategies that further stimulate and support students in finding their own learning style. That leads to increasing the quality of teaching and learning, and raising the level of student achievement.
The use of new technologies in teaching creates a stimulating and student-friendly learning environment that further adapts to their individual needs, while teachers acquire skills to develop new teaching practices and develop better cooperation with students. In addition, this programme provides support to children from vulnerable groups. UNICEF will therefore continue to support the education system to ensure that digital education is high-quality and accessible to all children.
The programme “Improving the quality and inclusiveness of education in the digital environment” is part of the UNICEF Regional project to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of children and their families in the Western Balkans and Turkey, funded by the European Union.