Technology at School – The EdTech market in Russia

Towards the end of September 2018, the UKEdMagazine team were invited over to Moscow to attend the impressive City of Education forum, exploring the educational developments in the Russian capital city. It was clear to see that the City government has invested major resources into educational development, with evidence clear that the investment in Educational Technology is ensuring that students across the city are given equal and accessible tools to help the learning process (Click here to read more about our visit, and click here to see more images from the visit in the UKEdMagazine – also, listen to our Podcast recorded at the Forum by clicking here).

The prominent presence of the Moscow City of Education was clear to see at the recent BETT2019 show in London, and the development in educational technologies was clear to see on their stand.

City of Education Exhibition Stand at BETT2019 – Image by @digicoled

Indeed, the Russian online learning market has been actively developing since 2013. Today, Russia is the growth driver in Eastern Europe, at a rate of 17–25% per year. According to estimates by EWDN, it will grow up to 53 billion rubles and will take up 2.6% of the total education market by 2021.

Online education in Russia is an emerging market and splits into E-learning and EdTech.

The educational market in Russia remains a monopoly, 80% is owned by the government or companies with state participation. The largest market section is children’s basic education and all types of basic vocational education.

The private sector generally covers (1) supplementary children’s education and (2) adult supplementary vocational education. The real race in these two segments for quality content, technology and techniques is happening quickly, with experts identifying a number of obvious trends in edtech market:

  • Gamification is the use of game-specific approaches in non-game processes in order to increase their involvement in learning;
  • Mobile learning – learning through social and content interactions in different contexts using personal mobile devices;
  • Microlearning – learning a small amount of material in a short period of time;
  • Soft Skills development – a set of skills, such as emotional intelligence, communication and management skills, time management, conflict management, etc.

At the same time there are some other trending educational formats:

  • Immersive Learning – the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies in learning;
  • Voice assistants and chatbots – programs developed on the basis of machine learning technologies and neural networks for a specific set of human goals;
  • Storytelling and podcasts – distribution of information in audio or video format;
  • Communities and mentoring – a training method when the master transfers his knowledge and skills, support and guide colleagues or a group of students and provides feedback to their results;
  • Personalised learning track – an educational route formed for a specific person, taking into account his features and needs;
  • Skill – oriented learning: 1 course = 1 skill.

Startup support programmes in Russia

In 2018, the ED2 accelerator for educational startups was created.

The accelerator’s goal is to help start-up entrepreneurs in the field of digital education by providing them with methodological, technological and marketing support. This acceleration program fulfills a system development mission of the educational start-ups market in Russia.

Preference is given to the following areas:

  • educational applications,
  • online learning platforms,
  • process automation,
  • teachers’ training and accreditation,
  • future professions,
  • talent development and human resources,
  • new devices and technologies in education.

The Moscow city Government has launched 15 Business Service Centers, as well as a number of programs and events to support small businesses:

  • workshops on various aspects of doing business
  • online academy for start-up entrepreneurs
  • startup school: 5-day workshop about all the aspects of running your business and the paperwork process
  • free coworking spaces
  • Consulting and support on the basic of how to start your own business.

 Governmental EdTech projects.

Moscow schools have created an infrastructure and ecosystem for getting and assimilating knowledge, including Moscow Electronic School, diagnostics in virtual reality, “My achievements” project.

In 2018, Moscow was the first to launch the knowledge diagnostics in virtual reality globally. For this, students do not take it as a test, unique in this format, but aimed as more an additional motivation and interest to the school subjects.

The project stimulates research skills, what is especially important in the natural sciences – chemistry, physics and biology. The interactivity boosts an experimental spirit in schoolchildren.

The VR laboratory is absolutely mobile. It looks like fully equipped bus that requires only WI-FI connection. Every school can send a request to pass the diagnostics in VR.

Moscow Electronic School is a unique and unified system for all parts of the educational process, a single electronic journal / diary for teachers, students and parents, a huge amount of content that teachers create by themselves: electronic lesson scenarios that any teacher can use absolutely for free.

The project is the result of professional community  inquiry that ended up as an entire “digitalisation” of metropolis industry.

The development is fully owned by the Moscow Department of Education.

The project was presented at several international exhibitions and forums: forum “City for Education” in Moscow, Bett Show 2018 in London and in the United Arab Emirates at the international exhibition AQDAR.

This has been a real discovery for international colleagues. There is no such analogue on the international market, especially on such a scale. There are many resources for teachers abroad, but they are mostly paid. A unified system for all – teachers, students and parents created in Moscow is absolutely unique development.

It is planned to add to the system additional and vocational education, as well as extracurricular activities and new types of educational materials: with augmented and virtual reality elements and online courses.

Every student or teacher has an opportunity to check his or her level of knowledge on any subject at any time for free, and also to undergo the diagnostics in international studies like PISA and PEARLS even with a mobile phone – these are possibilities that an online service of self-preparation and self-test My achievements gives.

The government aimed to create a service that would allow a person to test themselves at any place, using any electronic device and at a convenient time. Diagnostic materials cover all school subjects – there is no analogue alternative to this in Russia. 

With the help of the service, children carry out laboratory and research work.

Tasks with a short answer are checked by an automated system. Tasks with detailed answers that require thoughtful verification are checked by people.

Now project team is developing artificial intelligence and teach the neural network to check diagnostic work, but still at the present time humans are working much better than electronic intelligence.

The service has more than 200,000 users, more than 750 testing options are available, as well as up-to-date final attestation tasks versions, which allows students to estimate their knowledges.

As part of the collaboration with startups, the Moscow Electronic School project includes more than 36,000 applications: most digital trainers come from well-known EdTech startups.

The Moscow Department of Education and Science provides an opportunity for young teams and talented young people to implement ideas that contribute to the development of education through various platforms.

The Moscow International Forum “City for Education” represents the best start-ups and educational initiatives. The exhibitors have access to assessment and assistance from the global expert community, and they have the opportunity later to collaborate with the Moscow Center for Quality Education.

The international forum “City for Education”, had been gathering the best speakers from all over the world for 2 years and in 2018 became the most visited educational forum in the world. The event visited more than 133,000 people within 4 days.

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About @digicoled 437 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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