"One is never certain of the contents of treasure chest when not in possession of the key. "
Jean-Napoleon Vernier, Fables, Thoughts and Poems(1865)
The creation of a service like Classo would be impossible without the contribution of teachers. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who, during the last eight months, made time for calls and meetings, who shared their challenges, gaves their suggestions, who read this blog. Thanks for your generosity.
In a recent conversation, a teacher friend of mine who teaches secondary XNUMX French, told me a story about an enthusiastic colleague who asked her principal to purchase a school license for a popular digital resource. The request was accepted, but, in the end, only a few teachers used it. Why? Because after exploring the product, the majority of teachers thought that it wasn't useful for them in their context. It didn’t suit their needs.
This didn't seem like an isolated case to me, so I asked the question to a group of teachers from Joseph-De Sérigny primary school I was meeting for a focus group.
I asked them, "What makes you or your school abandon using a digital resource? The main reasons they gave were as follows:
1. The product did not work properly with the equipment available to them, most often because of its obsolescence or for reasons of compatibility.
"We have access to interactive activities with some of our textbooks, but they do not work or work badly on our whiteboards! So, we do not use them."
2. The fiscal policy or the price of the product had changed. Marie-Lyne says:
" There was Brain Popwhich was really great. I used it all the time for science. Now they charge a license fee, and it's very expensive. We asked at the beginning of the year if the school could pay for it, but finally we changed our mind because there was a budget cut ... "
- "It was not a price the school could afford. It made no sense!"
3. The product did not suit their needs or the ones of their class. Karine mentions:
"There are some interesting resources developed in France, but they don't always work with our curriculum."
I did some research and came across an article EdWeek Market Brief in EdWeek Market Brief that states that in 2017, in the United States, 35% of the licenses purchased for digital resources were never activated. This represents a considerable amount of wasted public funds.
While the opportunities offered by technologies in education and the growing number of applications, websites, and digital tools that have become available fuel our enthusiasm, is it not necessary to ensure that these resources are used in an optimal way? To return to the treasure hunt analogy I referred to in previous posts, what is the point of discovering ancient treasures if they are not studied for their historical value? If they aren't on display in a museum where the curious can access them?
Nonetheless, we are a long way from achieving an effective use of digital resources.
The stakes are high, and several aspects require consideration: budget constraints, policies, business models, available hardware, network infrastructure, product information, and data on effectiveness in facilitating learning (evidence). The decision-making process for choosing a digital resource should also take into account each teacher's context, their needs, their teaching style, the instructional strategies they advocate, and the needs of their students.
But first and foremost, teachers and students need to be provided with suitable computer equipment. The digital education action plan recently announced by the MEES provides solutions to address this issue and thus tackle the digital divide in education. Beyond politics, creative solutions are being put forward in some quarters to meet this challenge. I'll talk to you again!
Share your experiences and suggestions. We'll be happy to read you!