Technological homework!

(previous section) More and more teachers are swapping the classic paper homework for that on the computer. Sometimes, even the diary is offered in digital version or downright relegated to oblivion, […]

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(previous section)

More and more teachers are swapping the classic paper homework for that on the computer. Sometimes even the agenda is offered in digital version or downright relegated to oblivion, thanks to the platforms made available to teachers by certain school boards.

Virtual platforms

Édu-Groupe is a portal that has been serving some fifty school boards and eight private schools across Quebec for the past nine years. This tool allows the dissemination of information to parents, students and all staff of the organization. The teacher can create a virtual community for his class, a collaborative space to which parents are increasingly invited. Providing more room for adults in the educational process of young people is also a front-line issue, as thousands of parents are registered and virtually follow their child's daily life. There are even communities of parents of the same class that are created to facilitate exchanges, the dissemination of information and the sharing of various experiences.

Homework and assignments are posted on this portal, along with links to reference sites. The teacher can even decide to create a forum specific to his group, which allows the children to discuss once at home and help each other with homework. The use of this tool by teachers is voluntary, but more than 20 % would do so for this school year. A number set to increase, with the omnipresence of technologies in our lives.

The Commission scolaire des Affluents has been using the Virtual Office since the mid-2000s, and the experience is very conclusive according to Éric Ladouceur, communications coordinator. The BV, as many people call it, is a form of intranet portal dedicated to teachers, students and their parents. Everyone receives an access code at the start of the year. The most computer-savvy teachers post their homework, link to the work to be completed, have additional information on the subject taught in class and interact directly with the students. Parents can also access a wealth of information about their children through the Virtual Office. They can consult the notes of the assignments, the report cards and discuss with their child's teacher. It's also a great way to keep up to date with what's going on in the classroom. “Last year, we had 3000 registered parents,” says Mr. Ladouceur. Seven school boards use the Virtual Office.

Other virtual class managers exist, including Plurilogic and Coba. Finally, several schools use their Internet site as a bulletin board to inform parents. The monthly calendar of school activities appears there, as well as the list of school effects.

The wealth of free software

There are many ways to use new technologies in teaching and homework. Pierre Poulin, teacher in an iCl @ sse of 6e year of Wilfrid-Bastien school in Montreal, in the Saint-Léonard borough, extols the benefits of computers for children's learning. He creates a classroom wiki with his students on a daily basis. “This is a textbook that I and my students write. We improve it according to the discoveries that each one makes on the web. "

The teacher also uses notebooks online with his pupils on Evernottakes away, a platform allowing a maximum download of 60 MB per month for free (there is a charge for a more important use). These allow young people to decorate the text with relevant images and icons, as they wish. “Everyone can shape their notebook in their own way,” says Poulin.

For the realization of collective work and duties, Pierre Poulin relies on Google docs, which allows multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously, no matter where they are. “Parents are happy that they no longer have to transport the children to do their teamwork. Another great advantage of these online tools is the elimination of the famous USB key, so easily forgotten or lost with all the school work inside. Note, however, that these “free” services are paid for by advertising and that the privacy of users may be compromised.

The teacher regrets, however, that some educational institutions prevent students from using these tools to avoid overflows. “Schools will not be able to resist for long,” he hopes, while acknowledging that change in the wider world of education is sometimes slow to materialize.

Last year, two teachers from the Escale and Plateau elementary schools, from the Commission scolaire des Premieres-Seigneuries, in Quebec City, tried to the experience of techno homework. Every two weeks, parents received an email with the homework menu and the work had to be done on screen, except for math, and brought back to class or printed on a USB key. The experience was conclusive, and the project continues this year. “It's stimulating, especially for some boys. Often, they ask their fathers to help them with their homework, ”emphasizes Annie Fournier, principal of the school, happy to be able to help create stronger family ties.

But what if a kid attending a tech class doesn't have the equipment at home to complete their homework? “So he works in a notebook, but has time to update his documents during class. He can exchange important knowledge with others and has priority access to a computer, ”assures teacher Pierre Poulin, specifying that in three years of iCl @ sse, he has never come across a child deprived of it. home computer. In some circles, however, the situation could be quite different.

In the case of parents completely overwhelmed by technology, Mr. Poulin is not overly concerned. “Parents rarely have to help. It's the contrary! The student transcribes his lecture notes or daily exercises on the Internet, on the wiki for example, and takes part in an online exchange with the other students. They help each other from home. More often than not, parents discover the tools online and it is the children who teach them. "

In the class of Marie-France Fortin, teacher at Lucille-Teasdale high school, the iPad is used both at school and for homework. Indeed, although it is the property of the school, the pupils can take it home to work. This digital tablet allows them in particular to record a lesson and to put their notes in writing once the evening comes. There is no charge for parents. Not all are so lucky. And some private schools, like the François-de-Laval College and the St-Jean-Vianney College are starting to make it compulsory to own iPads or laptops at parents' expense.

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École branchée
The École branchée, a non-profit organization, is your professional development partner in connection with digital competence in education. We believe that education must be able to benefit from current educational and technological advances to better meet the increasingly diverse needs of learners and promote their success, today and for the rest of their lives. We work there through our professional information services, continuing education and the creation of educational tools.

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