Prof. Vilmantė Kumpikaitė – Valiūnienė, Kaunas University of Technology.
Who would have thought that information technologies could become so crucial in our everyday life in the study process? However, COVID-19 made these changes. Last time I was in real class was in February 2020. After this, I teach just online. However, my ratings and feedback from students have never been as good before as they are now. This is because I use different IT tools in my virtual classes.
I have been a big supporter of IT usage in a study process myself already for more than 15 years. I started my path with Blackboard Vista, preparing and sharing all material for students. Now I have been using Moodle for ten years as majority of institutions installed it. I was nominated for the best Distance course (titled “Management of Labour Resources”) at Kaunas University of Technology in 2009. In addition, I prepared the first MOOC course (titled “Management”) in Lithuania in 2012, which had a success among participants from more than 40 countries.
So why I am so interested in different IT usage for teaching?
Firstly, because of students. Our students are digital natives and therefore, implementation of IT in the study process is easily accessible and useful for them. Who does not want to play games and to win? I see how students become involved in a simple competition answering subject-related questions in Kahoot or Menti. It lets me see if students understood the material and to activate them.
Secondly, using IT tools allows me not to be “so far” from these digital natives. Moreover, learning different forms of IT tools is also a motivation and self-development opportunity for me. Different means, such as quizzes, crosswords or puzzles online, case studies and role-plays are useful means for students’ activation in virtual class, which I like. They also help me and the students to know each other better when studying online and to develop teamwork. My newest “object of interest” is the creation of Escape rooms online, which provides new insights and possibilities.
Summing up, I would like to encourage my colleagues to use different IT tools, which are especially useful in the current remote teaching situation. Everything is possible. We just need motivation and willingness.
The need to develop digital competencies of the teachers is the focus of MUST project (https://mustproject.eu/) The MUST project aims to develop tools to train university staff in creating and using multimedia technologies effectively so that they have the skills to created more realistic and attractive content in their communication in education research and university-community projects.