Multimedia in schools. Transcarpathian pupils will have net-books, but not so soon as we would like to

A multimedia miracle, promised to be provided late last year by the State Agency for Investment and Management of National projects in Ukraine, has been postponed. Transcarpathian pupils, who were among the first in the country to start studying with the help of special net-books, might wait for high-tech toys for few years more.

The ambitious project "Open World" began in September 2010. Its purpose was to provide all secondary school students with personal net-books, and the whole educational process – with an electronic teacher, multimedia and interactive systems through the implementation of information and communication technology (4G) educative network of national-level.

Transcarpathia was supposed to take a significant role in the process. Our region, according to the last year data of the State Agency for Investment and Management of National Projects in Ukraine, was to become one of the first in the country in the development of a 4G network, and they promised to pupils of the school year 2012-2013 to provide a free loan for a hybrid net-book and a smart phone, as well as to connect Internet to each student’s house.

But as the time goes on, but no special arrangements for the innovation in Transcarpathian schools are observed, Zamok (edition) addressed to the Regional Department of Education and Science for a comment. In the governance structure this issue is dealt by the regional methodological center of library collections of textbooks and teaching aids. As the methodologist of the Methodological Centre Michael Danashevsky told us, when the project started, it was expected that on September 1, 2012 our pupils will be already given new multimedia textbooks. Now, however, the management cannot predict the exact start of the project, therefore, they advised to ask for information directly from its leaders.

As the assistant manager of "Open World", Vladimir Babenko told “Zamok”, for the introduction of modern educational technology through the survey there were selected 128 Transcarpathian schools – mainly those which are already familiar with modern information and communication technology (multimedia whiteboards, projectors, etc.) and have a good material and technical base, thus, predominantly urban ones.

"Right now, – says Vladimir Babenko – Transcarpathian regional authorities have agreed on 98 schools out of 128. But it is already quite a large number, for example in Mykolayiv region there were selected only 74 schools for the project, and in Sumy – 19. Now the project is in the process of teaching trainers. Soon they will work with regional trainers, and they in turn – with the teachers locally. It is expected that this autumn, those teachers who successfully pass courses, will receive laptops. Because you cannot just give school supplies to children when neither they nor their teachers are able to successfully use them in the learning process".

According to Vladimir Babenko, national project leaders have not decided yet as to the kind and, most importantly, software which the training devices for children will have. Now four types are under consideration: notebooks, net-books, readers and I-Pods, but each of them has some disadvantages.

"The matter is complicated, so we shouldn’t hurry in any case, – said Vladimir Babenko. – We have not yet agreed on many nuances, such as whether to give the educational gadget to the child, whose parents have already bought him or her a laptop for home use, or how to build a learning process following medical advice and not loading the eyes of a child by sitting at the monitor for more than 15 minutes per academic hour".

In "Open world" they feel that it is too early to talk about the price of educative devices and the ways of their spreading. The project is planned for 2012-2015, so gradually teachers will be introduced to the multimedia world and only then will they follow to a "1+1" principle, meaning they will give a net-book (or other type of device) to each student.

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