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Modern technology a class act for distant schools

Updated: 2020-01-08 07:58:27


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Online classes offer new learning experiences for students in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Sang Na, a Chinese teacher in the Urumqi school, says once a teacher in Qingdao Zaoshan Primary School used a Chinese shadow puppet in class. This inspired her a great deal as she realized the importance of creativity.

"Introducing traditional puppets in class not only makes the class more interesting, but also creates a chance to bring students closer to traditional culture," she says.

Sun Jiani, a fifth-grade student from the Urumqi school who takes part in the online class, relishes the experience. She especially likes the three-minute speeches delivered by her peers in Qingdao, saying that sharing has broadened her horizons and helped her to understand life in eastern China.

The project has now expanded from Urumqi to Hami.

According to Jiang Zongjun, director of the education bureau of the 13th Division in Hami, 12 schools in the division are scattered over an area of nearly 10,000 square kilometers.

In some rural places, a lack of teachers is always a problem. While this is being addressed, the internet is helpful, Jiang says.

"In the past, some of our teachers had to teach several subjects, but with the help of interactive online classes, they can focus on their own subject," says Jiang.

Yet, challenges remain. Li Zhiying, a teacher in Hongshan Farm School, says it took her some time to get used to the interactive system.

Usually, there are about 40 students in one class. But adding those online, teachers have to face nearly 500 students at the same time.

She recalls that at first, she rarely asked questions to students on the screen in front of her. Later, with guidance from other teachers, she had more interactions with students in other classrooms and could handle all the students at the same time.

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