Vietnamese-made teaching software, necessary technology platforms for online study
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung
Phuong, a teacher in Ha Tinh, said she was worried when she had to continue meeting students in the new academic year via the internet because of Covid-19.
“Nobody told us what to do. Last year my school provided a Teams account, but they are not providing accounts this year due to financial reasons. We chat amongst ourselves and try Zoom, then use Google Meet,” she said.
“We managed to make clips and then post the course clips on the platforms. We teach each other which platforms we should use, which are high quality and which we can use for free,” she said. “A few days ago we used Zoom. It was ok even though we were automatically kicked out every 40 minutes. But there’s too much lag these days, so we opted for Google Meet.
Phuong and other teachers said that despite some drawbacks, it is still easy to use foreign platforms for online teaching.
Nguyen Hong Hanh, deputy principal of Ly Thai To Primary School, said most schools in the locality use Zoom for online education because it is simple and easy for elementary students. Google Meet is more suitable for middle and high school students.
Hanh said the school had tried apps provided by national companies, but “teachers said they weren’t really effective and didn’t have a lot of utilities like Zoom.”
The ability to interact was the biggest problem with software made in Vietnam, according to a teacher in Hanoi.
He said that while the interfaces of Zoom, Meet and Teams are user-friendly and simple, some Vietnamese platforms have too many features and contain superfluous information, including advertisements.
“Software developers might think that having many features will be an advantage. But in fact, teachers and students only need a few basic features. The most important things are simple connection, easy to use and good interaction,” he said.
The e-learning market has seen a growth rate of 150% per month over the past two years. More than 80% of the market share is held by Zoom with 300 million users, while Microsoft Teams has 250 million and Google Meet 120 million.
Meanwhile, according to To Hong Nam from the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), 90% of schools use Zoom because the platforms made in Vietnam do not meet their requirements.
Chu Cam Tho from the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences said that foreign and Vietnamese software products used in online education in Vietnam simply enable communication with others, but do not have the function of management, evaluation and total systematic interactions.
Learning management systems (LMS) such as Teams, Google Classroom, and Canvas are not specifically designed for education administration and are not tied to digitized education data.
“Education is a system of distinct activities and subjects. And education technology should be a tool used only to solve educational problems,” she said.
She said teachers use Zoom and Zalo only to see students’ faces, but they can’t show slides or e-books. They cannot give exercises and supervise the learning process of the students, and the results of the students cannot be assessed immediately.
Tho pointed out that Vietnam does not have a real technological system specially designed for online education, and this is the reason for the problems.
Phuong, a teacher from Ha Tinh, said she didn’t know which platforms to use if Meet was no longer useful.
Meanwhile, Nam said online education platforms have servers located overseas and do not have representatives in Vietnam, so it is difficult to deal with violations.
Nguyen Dinh Duc from Hanoi National University said there was a need to create a software product for common use in online education across Vietnam. Schools use different products, which makes it impossible to share resources in lesson plans and online tutorials.
Tran Nam Dung, deputy principal of the High School for the Gifted at National University of HCM City, said schools and teachers are willing to use Vietnamese software in online education, provided vendors improve the software to meet the requirements.
Experts believe that even if the Covid-19 does not break out again, online education will continue to develop thanks to its great advantages. Minister of Education and Training, Nguyen Kim Son, during the National Assembly’s question-and-answer session on November 11, affirmed that online education will continue even after the pandemic is under control.
The government and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) recently created policies to develop digital technology products, including a “Make in Vietnam” strategy and national digital transformation; and held competitions to encourage companies to create useful technology solutions, such as the Make in Vietnam and Viet Solutions awards.
Vietnamese technology companies now have great opportunities and encouragement from the government to enter the e-learning platform market.
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