Young people from Quebec and Belgium debate digital technology in education

As part of the Rendez-vous des écoles francophones en network (REFER), which will take place on March 19 and 20, two classes have teamed up to virtually debate 4 digital-related affirmations in their lives, inspired by the work Petite Poucette, by the philosopher Michel Serres.

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Within the framework of Meeting of French-language schools in the network (REFER), which will take place on March 19 and 20, two classes have paired up to virtually debate 4 digital-related affirmations in their lives, inspired by the work Little Thumbelina, by the philosopher Michel Serres.

Teachers Annie Turbide (ethics and religious culture, 5e secondary, Cardinal-Roy School in Quebec) and Francois Jourde (philosophy 16-17 years old, European School Brussels 1, in Belgium), invited their students to reflect on their relationship to digital technology. To do this, they first read the work Little Thumbelina, by French philosopher Michel Serres, published in 2012, in which he precisely questions this new "digital age".

They were then able to react to it through various educational activities, including a virtual debate around the following 4 statements:

  1. With the Internet, you no longer need to go to school.
  2. Today, rote learning is unnecessary.
  3. With social networks, you are never alone.
  4. The Internet makes humanity more tolerant.

By clicking on the links, it is possible to review the progress of the debate, which took place through the tool Google Hangout and broadcast live on February 17 on YouTube. There were 2 debaters per team, in addition to 2 coaches per team, a session chairman and his 2 assistants, a timekeeper and 4 journalists on Twitter. The assistance (anyone connected) could also chat and vote on the outcome of the debates. It was all done using the Twitter tag " #Refer_PP "

This whole project will be the subject of a very special presentation on the occasion of the Meeting of French-language schools in the network (REFER), next March 19 and 20.

Among the outstanding arguments proposed by the students:

1. With the Internet, you no longer need to go to school

For :
- Universal accessibility of knowledge promotes equality
- Online courses have the advantages of ubiquity and diversity, individualization, personalization, massification

Against :
- Some practical work can only be done at school
- School is a place of socialization
- Everyone can have access to tools that they might not have at home


2. Today, rote learning is useless

For :
- "A well-made head is better than a full head" said Montaigne
- The right to information is a fundamental right (1996 - Freedom of information act)
- We are in an age where knowledge is on Google, just a few clicks away

Against :
- Independence from technology promotes spontaneity
- Memorizing makes it possible to understand and act: but it is necessary to train (with the by heart)


3. With social networks, you are never alone again

For :
- Internet maintains relationships by removing the barrier of distance
- Internet allows you to develop more relationships with more people, especially according to your interests

Against :
- Less human contact
- Anonymity facilitates wickedness
- Easier to get trapped


4. Internet makes humanity more tolerant

For :
- Internet makes it easier to exchange ideas
- Allows you to open your mind by meeting people from different countries
- Example of Charlie Hebdo: the whole world knew what had happened thanks to the Internet

Against :
- Internet diffuses differences, thus increasing intolerance
- Anonymity promotes nastiness, hate messages


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About the Author

Audrey Miller
Audrey Miller
General manager of École branchée, Audrey holds a graduate degree in educational technologies and a bachelor's degree in public communication. Member of the Order of Excellence in Education of Quebec, she is particularly interested in the professional development of teachers, information in the digital age and media education, while actively creating bridges between the actors of the educational ecosystem since 1999. She is involved these days in particular in Edteq Association and as a member of the ACELF Communications Committee. When she has free time, she is passionate about her children, his rabbits, horses, good wine and... Web programming!

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