Usually, Marie-France Fortin's students enter her class backwards. The teacher from Lucille-Teasdale high school is not in question, the young people would simply have preferred not to end up in a reinforcement class. But this year, these young people are envious since they all got an iPad at the start of the school year that they use in class and at home!
The idea arose after a few teachers participated in an activity about technologies. “In high school, it's not easy. The groups are not fixed and they each have several teachers. However, my class is a closed group and I teach French, history, geography, mathematics and science. I was therefore approached for a first experience, ”says Ms. Fortin. After evaluating several tablets, the school board opted for the iPad. At 600 $ per device, this represents an investment of nearly 20,000 $ taken from an envelope intended for integrated students. To this must be added the other required equipment.
In June, the teacher left with her tablet under her arm to determine how she was going to use it with her group. “For now, each student must become super competent in an application, he becomes THE specialist. For example, I have two students whose job it was to explore a note-taking app and explain it to others. My dyslexic and dysorthographic students can record me and listen to their class notes again in the evening. Their duty was to put that in a word processor, ”she explains. Ms. Fortin has had to adapt her teaching style considerably and is still in the exploration phase. Papers and pencils have not yet completely disappeared from his classroom.
Not surprisingly, the young people are delighted to participate in the experience. But to prevent tablets from becoming a source of distraction in the classroom, Ms. Fortin urged students to establish rules. "They should stay on the corner of the desk until I have instructed me to use them." In addition, we have established anything that could be disturbing. The young people decided that at the first warning, the offending student was going to lose his tablet for a period. The second is for the day and the third is for five days. They are harder than I would have been, ”she notes with a laugh. So far, tablets have not posed disciplinary problems.
As for the parents, they are excited. “However, some were concerned about insurance if something happened. Many also feared intimidation from others. We talked about it in class to invite the students to quickly report the situation if such a problem arises. We also asked them to remain discreet about their iPad, ”says Ms. Fortin.
Under the magnifying glass
It is not yet clear what will happen to the tablets at the end of the year and if a larger group of students could benefit from them. The experience is scrutinized by the various stakeholders and Ms. Fortin's colleagues. "Many ask me questions, they are very interested," she notes. In addition, Robert David, a researcher from the University of Montreal, will visit the classroom several times during the year to study the impact of digital tablets on student motivation.
Obviously, several other factors also influence the motivation of young people in school. The Information Network for Educational Success also presents a folder relevant in this regard.
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