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The judicious use of technology: implications for students

By Fannie Rivet

(last article of 3)

Promoting the judicious use of technology is truly at the heart of Classo's approach and mission. But what exactly does that mean? This blog post, the last of a series of three, offers a reflection on the issue and focuses on the implications for students, actors at the center of the debate.

Have not you read the first blog post on the judicious use of ICT for teachers? It is by here. For the second article on school administrators and other educators, it is here.

The publication of the Framework of reference for digital competence by the government has revived a debate that has continued since the beginning of the 2000 years: what place should be given to information and communication technologies at school? The question deserves a long and deep reflection, because the frame of reference has a double vocation. In fact, unlike the reference system for professional skills, it does not only concern teachers, but also students.

A change of perspective

Almost thirty years ago, the invention of the Internet disrupted communications, research and the sharing of information, and even, quietly, education. We have indeed entered the digital age, the global industrial revolution, and technologies are here to stay, including at school. The debate continues, however, between those who say that technology has its place, because it helps students in many ways, and those who believe otherwise, like Ariane Krol in this case. article of La Presse, criticizing the omnipresence of screens in the lives of young people. Before considering the possible benefits of technology on student learning, we must consider the fact that the majority of those who attend secondary school (and many of the youngest) use various technological devices (computer, cellular, TNI, MP3 player, etc.), devices with which they come into contact from childhood. For this alone, the proper use of ICT in schools must be taught to ensure that students make informed and sound decisions in their technology practices. The question is no longer why, but how to include technology at school!

Benefits for all actors

Studies that prove it, such as celle by Janice D. Yoder and Catherine M. Hochevar from Akron University have been following each other for years: students learn better and more when they are active in their learning. This implies a reversal of the class as we know it and a class management different from that of traditional classes, where the students, rather passive, sit in rows very straight, armed with a pencil and a notebook Canada. Today, there is a need for active learning approaches where students work collaboratively. Using ICT in a judicious way, thus organized, supervised and planned, enters into this socioconstructivist vision of education.

The benefits of ICT use for educators are many, but those for students too. First of all, the inclusion of technologies in the classroom provokes a greater commitment on their part and an increase in their motivation, which is explained by the variation of teaching methods, which is very much appreciated by children and adolescents. And it's not the methods that are missing, as we can see in this document Bernard Gagnon, an ICT pedagogical advisor at Cégep de St-Félicien, who brought together 53 different teaching methods! Students can now realize multimedia and multidisciplinary projects easily because they have access to tools that make it easy for them.

Technology in support of learning challenges

For students with learning disabilities, school is a daunting challenge and is too often a source of discouragement and loss of motivation. To counter this, technologies can be put in place to support and assist with their efforts, such as computers, automatic markers, or speech-synthesis software. There are also now several fonts specifically designed for dyslexic students.

The good practices of some for the success of all

To develop a sound use of technology in students, they must first be taught safe practices. Young people need to be supervised and supervised when they use certain technologies, which is why they must be taught to protect their information, to be wary of strangers (as much as people, games, software and social networks!) and to treat others with respect, for the words fly away, but the writings remain. If they have been shown at an early age to be cautious about the content they consult and share, they will be able to more easily develop a critical mind about the media and technologies they use. They will question themselves as to whether what they want to share may have negative consequences for themselves or others. They will develop an ethical use of digital and, with their thoughtful and studied opinion, they will learn about the different tools and resources available to them in order to choose the most appropriate ones.

In addition, pedagogic tools should remove many material constraints and promote the development of creativity in students. A teacher wants to evaluate oral presentations? Why not allow students to shoot a movie? Are we studying a certain period in history? Take the opportunity to visit virtual museums collecting works of this era. Technology has opened the doors of possibility to trendy teachers and curious students.

Whether it is the teacher or the specialized educator, an educator must take charge of the explicit teaching of the use of pedagogical tools so that they become beneficial to the students' learning. Gradually, with experience, they will be able to assess whether the devices they use act as facilitators or, conversely, whether they represent a daunting task yet to be accomplished. For a technology to be effective at school, it must alleviate difficulties or save time. If what we put in place does not respond to one or the other, we must revise its digital strategies!

The disconnected connected student

Finally, a student who makes judicious use of technology and other digital resources knows that sometimes you have to disconnect and enjoy other things, this is called the variation of teaching methods, and, if the student may have some control over how he learns, he will be all the more motivated. Students, with their parents and educators, need to strike a balance between technology and other activities, taking into account the negative impact screens may have on young people's attention span, psychological health and their physical health.

To learn more about the health risks associated with the misuse of technologies, you can read this article of the Obs on the subject, reporting the results of a study.

For more information on active learning, you can consult the database of the website of SALTISE, which brings together empirical and qualitative studies.

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