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Distance learning: between change and continuity

Steve Quirion and Danny Legault, advisers at the RÉCIT national service, social universe domain (RÉCITus), share observations, practical tools and avenues for reflection in connection with distance education after one year of a pandemic. These can easily be transposed into other disciplines.

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Steve Quirion and Danny Legault, advisers at the RÉCIT national service, social universe domain (RÉCITus), share observations, practical tools and avenues for reflection in connection with distance education after one year of a pandemic. These can easily be transposed into other disciplines.

“Distance education has forced us to remember the obvious,” says Steve Quirion at the outset. “We have seen, more than ever, that it is necessary to return to the basis of teaching: clearly specifying its educational intention, clearly defining the object of an evaluation. It makes more sense for the students. "

Thus, during the last year, he suggested to several teachers to use the principles of the research process in a social universe to sequence their period of online lessons (and this can of course also apply in class!) .

Concretely, it is about:

- explicitly name the main object of the session (by asking a starting question, for example);

- carry out activities on this object during the session (alternating between working in synchronous or asynchronous mode; alone, in a large group or in a sub-group);

- demonstrate understanding of the object, learning achieved (write a definition, give an example, etc.).

Regarding the last element, the use of “exit tickets” was a solution that generated a lot of interest from teachers. This is a small form linked to the initial educational intention. Each student must complete it before leaving the course. This makes it possible both to collect traces and to quickly validate the mastery of the concepts taught. Models of these exit tickets were developed by the RÉCITus team.

“Specifying your intention also means clearly stating what the students will be assessed on,” adds Steve. The team thus prepared general evaluation grids for intellectual operations and social skills. Teachers can learn from and adapt them.

The digital learning environment at the heart of the classroom

For his part, Danny made a point of recalling that beyond the use of the videoconference function (with camera and chat), the tools used for online education (such as Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom) make it possible to further organize the content of the course and the monitoring of student work.

“It's never been easier to share documents with students and make sure they have them in their hands. These tools also make it possible to maximize the link between school and home, while parents also have access to all of their children's school documents. They can consult the feedback offered on the various works ”.

Arrange time differently

“Among the elements that the pandemic has highlighted is the fact that we have to vary our learning activities and reconsider what a class 'period' is. It's 75 minutes, it can get very long for a high school student who is not engaged, ”says Danny.

Sharing shorter tasks, making the student more active in their learning, using the inverted classroom are among the solutions that have emerged. In fact, there are many ways to organize a class period. In addition, diversity is good for student motivation!

In order to put young people a little more into action and get them out of the now traditional videoconference, several teachers have experimented with various interactive activity platforms (eg. Wooclap, LearningApps, etc.).

Some have also gone further by opting for digital creation with the Minecraft Education platform or for programming with Scratch. To encourage the use of these tools, RÉCITus has also developed many tasks directly related to the study program. It is possible to find them in the Resources section of their website.

Steve Quirion and Danny Legault presented their thoughts at the Digital Education Summit. Their presentation, in Google Slides format, is available online.


Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
3- Exploit the potential of digital technology for learning

To see the Framework.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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