Kazan Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 4948-4952
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1225
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Dialogue of cultures is a keynote idea and a crucial element of educational practice in bi- and multi-lingual regions of the world, including the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation where Russian and Tatar are two state languages. This reflects sociopolitical interests of the countries that are homes for minority ethnic groups and of regions with high migration rates.

This paper reports on the integration of digital learning objects into bilingual education of young learners. In particular, the research focuses on the development of sociocultural competencies of children aged 3-5 whose native language is Tatar but who develop Russian language and culture skills when attending private or state kindergartens.

The study involved one private and six state kindergartens in the Republic of Tatarstan. These institutions were selected as sites to research how digital learning objects may be integrated into the curriculum of young bilingual children to build cultural capital associated with living in Russia and among Russians. Classroom observations and interviews with educators served as primary sources of data.
The online Russian language school "Zhivyje Skazki” (Live Fairytales), aimed at 3-5 year old children living in multilingual regions of Russia and abroad, was integrated into the regular curriculum of experimental sites. The research indicates that Live Fairytales accompanied by carefully designed instructional conversations of educators was able to stimulate children’s interest in the digital stories they were able to listen and explore in class. The online modules were based on a well-thought cultural map that enabled the author of the fairytales integrate into the plot important facts and phenomena related to Russian culture.

The dialogue of cultures principle developed by the prominent Russian scholar Mikhail Bakhtin formed the framework of the online school. This was manifested in the process of getting children acquainted with the realities and artifacts of the target language culture, which allows the young learners to think in terms of the cultural and historical values of the culture he/she studies.

Data indicate that the process of training and development of sociocultural competences was based on the interaction of three parties: a child, a teacher and a computer program. The implementation of such a tripartite interaction allowed the educator to enrich traditional pedagogical methods by including multimodal sources of information of the digital learning object. Audio- and visual materials, multiple interactive tasks given in a playful format ensured the involvement of the child into a learning process and gradual development of linguistic and cultural competencies.

This study adds to the body of literature that helps to understand how young bilingual learners may build sociocultural competencies that may later effect the development of intercultural skills.
Sociocultural competencies, digital storytelling, early childhood education, Russian language and culture, dialogue of cultures.