A mobile application to test students ' aptitude for the professions of the future created at NSTU NETI

04 June, 2019 09:21:00
Specialists in Science and Humanities of NSTU NETI presented a mobile application "Pro_будущее" (PRO_future) to determine the competencies facilitating the choice of professions in the digital economy. On June 1, the app became available for free download on Google Play. The application was created to solve the problems of the national program "Digital economy of the Russian Federation" within the federal project "Personnel for the digital economy".
"At the first stage, the testing could be taken only on the website. But everyone knows about the growth of mobile traffic and the popularity of applications. Therefore, the appearance of "PRO_будущее" app is due to the project's multiplatform character. At the moment, the testing and recommendation algorithm, which helps senior students to understand the professions of the future, is available both in the browser and on Android, the most popular in Russia mobile platform", says Sergey Chernyshov, the project manager, Senior Lecturer of Sociology and Mass Communications Department, NSTU NETI, PhD (History). The application is available on the website digitalnsk.ru for desktop computers and during June it will also appear on the App Store. The "PRO_будущее" (PRO_future) platform is based on the digital economy competence matrix for Novosibirsk Oblast developed at the experts brainstorming meetings. The testing algorithm and the platform itself are developed at Automation and Computer Science Faculty, NSTU NETI. The program's aim is to build an individual development path for a teenager in the digital sphere. As a result of testing, every one will receive their maps of competencies and individual educational paths. If the competencies level is insufficient, a student receives a list of recommendations that facilitate achieving the required level. As a result of testing, Novosibirsk Oblast secondary school and college students were offered individual educational paths in the "Sampling Space", a system of 60 interactive activities at universities and innovative companies. The algorithm allows testing not only secondary school students, but also university students and even adult professionals. So far, the program is outlining an educational path taking into account the specific features of Novosibirsk Oblast digital economy, though it can determine the general competences for any student from any region of Russia. The developers are planning to create a universal version of the program which will take into account the specific features of all Russian regions. Before creating a mobile application, the developers tried it off-line. Mass testing of secondary school students to determine the profile of their competencies in the digital economy was held during the "Uchsib-2019" educational fair at the stand of NSTU NETI and at the stand of the Ministry of Education of Novosibirsk Oblast. Overall about 1-1,5 thousand students took the the test during the educational fair and 8 thousand people were tested online at the website digitalnsk.ru. The project was presented in more than 40 schools of Novosibirsk, Ob, Iskitim, Berdsk, and a number of districts of Novosibirsk Oblast "The questions about what to become, how to choose a proper profession and the like are among the most pressing issues at the graduation of school or college. And they become especially important in conditions of economy digitalization: automation, development of artificial intelligence, new cognitive systems, etc.", says Sergey Chernyshov. "We held four strategic sessions to address these issues in December and January, with more than 50 experts "brainstorming" and forming the first large competence map for professionals in the field of digital economy of Novosibirsk Oblast. It is important that if we follow this map, not only IT professionals, but people with a humanitarian mindset, managers, lawyers and other engineering professionals will also find themselves in the digital economy. The participation of the leading Novosibirsk universities in the project will show graduates of schools and colleges: one can get promising vocations in Novosibirsk Oblast. In fact, now we have created a database in which about 7-10% of secondary school graduates of the city. The system knows what they want and what they can do, in what professional sphere they are ready to develop. This is important information for the regional Ministry of Education and partner universities. It gives the opportunity to carry out targeted professional self-determination and to inform talented students about the possibility of obtaining professional education in the region. The program can make generalizations and analyses, for example, to give a general picture of competence in one school. Any other parameter can also be analyzed." "The aim of the test algorithm is to accurately identify the preferred profile and determine the possessed level of the competences included in the basic and additional profile", says Ivan Tomilov, one of the software developers, the head of the Automated Control Systems Department, NSTU NETI. "An individual educational path will be formed on the basis of the test results. If the competencies level is insufficient, the platform forms recommendations and activities list in order to achieve the required knowledge and skills. The complexity of the testing algorithm is due to hierarchical nature of the test. And if we choose the wrong additional profile at the first stage, the educational path will be formed incorrectly. The second factor is the requirement to determine the level of competence as accurately as possible with a relatively small number of questions in the test. Another nontrivial aspect is the interdependence of competences. This is the situation when the possession of one competence implies also a non-zero level within another competence. Such relations exist both within groups and between the competencies of different groups. Therefore, experts in the relevant fields of knowledge are involved in the test development in addition to the specialists who developed the formal technique. “The possibilities of human action formed and enhanced by the digital economy create increased potential danger. The management these risks imposes, in turn, the increased requirements for the admissibility, meaningfulness and creative productivity of such human behavior. This requirements humane congruety and social adequacy of professional activities. An individual becomes an increasingly important element of stability and development of resource-intensive social engineering systems. The success and safety of technocratic solutions depend on adequately formed social and human competencies. It is not surprising therefore that the employers demand such primarily social and human competencies as critical thinking, creativity, managerial abilities, emotional intelligence etc. This trend is increasingly reflected both in the forecasts of authoritative international expert bodies such as the World Economic Forum, and in the practice of professional training by the leading universities in the world, including technical one,” Igor Valdman, the Head of Sociology and Mass Communications Department, NSTU NETI, PhD explains the seriousness of the personnel selection for the digital economy. The application was created within "Professionals of the future for the digital economy" project to solve the problems of the national program "Digital Economy of the Russian Federation" within the framework of "Personnel for the digital economy" federal project. The project "Professionals of the future for the digital economy" is implemented by the "SMART Concept " Association in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Novosibirsk Oblast, leading Novosibirsk universities (NSTU NETI, NSUEM, SibSUTIS and others),"University 20.35" with the support of the presidential grant Fund (PGF). The project is aimed at the formation of students professional self-identification system in the developing digital economy considering the regional specifics of Novosibirsk Oblast. At the first stage, a competency map was formed: a list of knowledge and skills, which, according to experts, are necessary for successful professional activity in conditions of digital technologies development. Then, the experts from the Faculty of Automation and Computer Engineering of NSTU created an IT-platform based on generated maps where secondary school and college students of Novosibirsk Oblast will be tested on their basic competence in digital economy. They will also have access to the "Sampling Space", i.e. the system of activities proposed by the project partners (leading companies and universities of Novosibirsk Oblast) which will enable the graduates to understand if they want to develop within the chosen competence framework further. Moreover, each person will have his or her own list of activities, since the IT-platform will form an individual path of career guidance on the basis of incoming testing. The IT-platform will start working in February 2019. Reference: The digital economy is one of the key modern technological and economic trends in Russia. The national program "Digital economy of the Russian Federation" was approved by the Russian Government in July 2017. According to the program, more than 800 thousand Russians should be trained in the digital economy. The project "Professionals of the Future for the Digital Economy" is implemented by the "SMART Concept" Association in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Novosibirsk Oblast, the Agency for the formation of innovative projects "ARIS", leading universities of Novosibirsk Oblast and with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund of the Russian Federation. The project is aimed at creating a platform for professional self-identification of 8-10 grade students and college students of Novosibirsk Oblast within the "professions of the future", necessary for the development of the digital economy in the region. As part of the project, secondary school and college students of Novosibirsk Oblast will take initial online test which will help identify the professional aptitude of students. After that, they will take part in professional sampling and master classes together with employers from large organizations. In the end they will be able to determine the promising field of training in Novosibirsk universities.

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