Remote Learning or the Unexpected Digitization of the Bulgarian Education
Albena Spasova, CEE Multi Country Education Lead at Microsoft, talks about the horizons and pitfalls of the digital education, how students learn and communicate, how teachers should be up to date with the innovations and why is important to be а lifelong learner.
When schools were closed all over the world, educators were facing a massive challenge on how to keep students learning and engaged without the face-to-face closeness and comfortable daily routine of a classroom. According to the data from UNESCO, up to 1.6 billion students (or 91,3 % of total enrolled learners) have been affected by school closures in more than 194 countries worldwide. And many teachers had to move online to continue teaching and support students. Bulgarian schools were also embracing new reality with proactivity towards adopting new tools for remote learning. How they succeed and what are the lessons learned? Read what Albena Spasova, CEE Multi Country Education Lead at Microsoft, has to say.
Bloomberg TV Bulgaria
“Bulgaria has become an example of how to move quickly and effectively to remote learning.” That is what Albena Spasova, CEE Multi Country Education Lead at Microsoft, said in an interview with Veronika Denizova for Bloomberg TV Bulgaria. She took part in the programme “In Development” where she mentioned the good reaction from MoE as the schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “However, a good reaction does not mean that everything is over “, Spasova pointed out. She noted that the teachers should continue to be trained in digital technology, so they can easily adopt the hybrid education in the future. The remote learning will be somehow implemented in the educational model and this is going to benefit students, the labor market and business. “We need to prepare children for the dynamic and different environment, to develop other social skills related to critical thinking, cooperation, information exchange, and not to use only the traditional model,” Spasova said. Watch the whole interview in the link below and find out why the development of social skills and adaptability are crucial for the future of children and more interesting things.
“The students today can’t remember a time they were not wi-fi connected. They don’t draw a distinction between talking to their friends face-to-face or talking on-line, doing schoolwork in class or in a coffee shop or from home. Students today don’t learn how to use technology, they use technology to learn.” That is how Albena Spasova described the children of today to Mirela Vavova, journalist for Economic.bg. She cited data that shows that by 2030, advances in technology will cause major disruptions in the workforce, as automation could replace up to 50 percent of existing jobs in the U.S. alone. Occupations associated with lower education attainment levels will decline by up to 11.5 million jobs in the U.S. At the same time, the fastest growing occupations will require higher-level cognitive skills in areas such as problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, and 30 to 40 percent of jobs will require explicit social-emotional skills. “To be successful in the workplace of tomorrow, we must help students today to become adaptive, lifelong learners”, said Albena. Microsoft views investing in Education as an investment in long-term economic growth and prosperity around the world. “That’s why we specifically invest in technology that helps people—like students—develop skills.” Last year Microsoft trained 200K to make sure they are onboarded and prepared for remote learning. “In Bulgaria we prepared video lessons, localized in Bulgarian the digital skills curriculum which is available to anyone for free and we also invested in trainings and reached more than 35% of the teachers in Bulgaria”, said Albena Spasova. Follow the link below and find out why every child has the right to dream about being the next Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku or Katherine Johnson and more interesting topics.
When schools will physically reopen, teaching in Bulgaria will not look the same as before. It may be that this large-scale disruption will accelerate deeper education transformation and that some of the best parts of remote learning will be retained and be integrated into the future curriculum. In this new reality, educators empowered with technology will have an opportunity to create a more flexible and inclusive learning environment.