Changes in Education Start with Innovations ‘from Below’
Competition of innovations in education (KIVO–2017)
On June 5th, the results of the Competition of Innovations in Education (KIVO–2018) were announced. The competition was organized by the HSE Institute of Education together with the Rybakov Fund. Out of 503 applications, the jury selected 28 projects. Their authors will take part in an innovation accelerator summer school, which will take in Moscow in late June. The competition finals will be held in autumn.
The competition turned 5 this year, and during these years, it has received over 3,000 applications and been supported by dozens of partners, including the Agency of Strategic Initiatives and the Prosveshchenie Group, as well as leading universities and IT companies. The overall winner gets a travel grant for a trip to any country to develop its project and become familiar with the international experience. All the other finalists leave the competition with a ‘bag’ of presents from the sponsors.
But this is not the main goal of the competition. According to Diana Koroleva, the competition director, the competition has repeatedly become an incentive for further development and monetization of the projects. The most vivid example is Kodabra, a programming school for children aged 6–14. This project made it to the finals in 2015, when it was hardly known to anyone, and today it’s a leader in teaching programming to kids not only in Moscow, but in other cities as well. Participation in KIVO is a good opportunity for advertising: paradoxically, some projects gain popularity in their regions only after having been recognized in Moscow.
This year, the competition accepted applications from 20 countries: it was for the first time that it was possible to apply in English. Another feature is the growing number of applications made by school and university students. But generally, the demographics of innovators remain the same and include educators and entrepreneurs. Both categories include parents who are interested in changing the education system because their kids study in it.
This year, most of the project submitted for the competition were dedicated to continuing education, secondary and high schools. The reason for the interest in continuing education is that this sphere is less regulated by the authorities, and doesn’t have any formal educational standards, so there are minimum obstacles for implementing innovations. The projects for secondary and high schools have been mostly related to final exams: the innovators are looking for better ways to prepare for the EGE and GIA tests. The share of projects related to preschools has grown this year: it is believed that kids get many important competencies at a pre-school age, so parents pay maximum attention to their children’s development on this stage.
During all five years of the competition’s existence, researchers from the HSE Institute of Education have been studying innovations and innovators in education. The information received from the competition participants has become empirical data for other studies. The changes in education start with innovations ‘from below’, since the traditional mechanisms of management and reformation aren’t always effective during fast growth, believes Tatiana Khavenson, Research Fellow at the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis. And such innovations should be studied in order to manage them and improve their efficiency.
The main factors promoting innovation in education are educational background, job, family and the social environment. Sometimes an innovation project becomes a study task or an academic study, Diana Koroleva said. Or, for example, parents of future school students understand that he or she won’t be able to get the necessary skills as part of the traditional educational system, and open an innovative school or pre-school. Family ‘innovations’, such as toys or games, also can be ‘packed’ and mass -produced. Innovation impulses can evolve anywhere, even from the state, although it is very uncommon when it creates incentives for innovations in education ‘from below’.
There are a lot of innovations in Russian education at the stage of an idea or the start of a project, but only a few of them become successful, and the annual selection for KIVO is the best confirmation for that. ‘The way of innovation is long and challenging, and not all innovators achieve the realization of their project’, Tatiana Khavenson said, ‘But, to paraphrase the Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps, the more people pave this way, the more innovations in education will be implemented’.
According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) entitled Measuring Innovation in Education 2019: What Has Changed in the Classroom?, Russia ranked among the top three countries where schools are changing most rapidly.
This is the first project in the five-year history of the competition that is not directly related to social issues. The project’s authors will receive a travel grant and the opportunity to present their start-up anywhere in the world.
Thuy Tien Huynh, a 21-year-old from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has long been interested in Russian language and culture, classic Russian literary works, movies, and music from the Soviet era. While searching for opportunities to study abroad in Russia as a student in the faculty of Russian Linguistics and Literature at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Vietnam, she came across information on the HSE International Olympiad and decided to give it a shot.
On April 4, the winners of the First International Data Analysis Olympiad (IDAO) were announced. The event was organized by the HSE Faculty of Computer Science, Yandex, and Harbour.Space University (Barcelona) with the support of Sberbank. Magic City team from St. Petersburg took out first prize, a team from the Ukraine came second, and the Apex team from Belarus came third.
On February 20, the first online stage of the International Data Analysis Olympiad (IDAO) was completed. IDAO was organised by the Faculty of Computer Science of the Higher School of Economics in partnership with Harbour.Space University (Barcelona), Yandex and with the Gold sponsor, Sberbank.
Registration is now open for the Open Doors: Russian Scholarship Project, Russia’s first competition for international students applying to Master’s programmes. With registration open until January 15, 2018, the competition consists of two remote stages: a portfolio contest and an online contest. The first stage will take place from December 1 to January 15.
The winners are ‘d notation’, an app that is capable of imputing sheet music and learning music notation on smartphones, tablets and interactive whiteboards (from St. Petersburg), and Dysgraph, an online service that’s used to diagnose and treat dysgraphia in children (from Krasnoyarsk).
Elizaveta Povalyaeva, Artem Fomenko and Ismail Khamitov, fourth-year students of Software Engineering, took first place in the student category at the BPI Challenge 2017, a business process analysis competition. They presented their solution at the 13th International Workshop on Business Process Intelligence 2017 and are the first students from Russia to participate in the event and win, with the highest-ever number of projects participating in the competition.
Work by graduates of the HSE undergraduate programme in sociology took first place at the Russian national undergraduate and graduate student academic research competition in the social sciences category. In addition, research by a graduate of the HSE St. Petersburg won an audience’s choice award.
On September 12, the winner of the 2016 Innovation in Education (KIvO) award was announced at the EdCrunch International Conference on New Educational Technologies. Taking home the prize this year was The Language of Generations, a social project that pairs up senior citizens from Russia with foreign students who are learning Russian.