In Quebec, all textbooks go to the teaching material approval office (BAMD) for approval. They must receive the MELS seal before entering schools.
However, the mandate of the BAMD is limited to printed educational material. While USB drives and companion websites directly support a paper collection, they cannot be approved under the rules.
“When it comes to digital material, there are a lot of implications for approval. By its nature, it is a very volatile work, which can change quickly. Our office must be rigorous in this regard, ”explains Christine Lord, coordinator of the BAMD.
“Publishing houses are in a shambles,” states Caroline Viel. At the moment, it is a development that is still being groped. As the MELS has not yet issued guidelines for what should be in the digital educational material of the future, it is a bit like developing material in a free market ”.
"Work is underway, with the School 2.0 project, discussions are continuing in this regard," explains Ms. Lord. We are currently considering how the educational material will fit into the interactive whiteboard and laptop measure proposed by the Prime Minister. You have to make the right decisions immediately so as not to end up with problems upstream. "
Indeed, for over a year, consultations have been going well. Publishing houses that produce approved teaching material were present on various committees and were heard by the MELS on socio-cultural, advertising, material and educational aspects. Analysis of the report is underway, with the aim of producing guidelines for the design of digital educational materials.
Since 1997, the teaching team of EducationalSoftware.qc.ca juggles criteria for evaluating software for schools. “Our evaluation grid is made up of several criteria such as the design and operation of the software, pedagogy and content, student support and the added value of ICT,” confirms Mélissa Bricault, coordinator of Educational Software. qc.ca and ICT educational advisor at the CSSMI. Is the software easy to use and is it user friendly? Does it comply with the training program of the Quebec school? Does it offer encouraging feedback and adequate feedback on the process? Does it have significant advantages over other teaching resources? These are the aspects on which the evaluators focus their attention.
“We evaluated nearly 1300 software, adds Ms. Bricault. And we want to bring out those who have an educational added value for BITs. " Some products for TBI designed by publishing houses have also been evaluated ”.
“It will transform our evaluation practices,” concludes the BAMD coordinator. We have to think about all the implications that could arise. There are problems that we cannot foresee. We must provide very clear guidelines, but without being too rigid, which will allow us to be rigorous in our assessment. "