This year, all students in Secondary 1 at Trinity College are using Antidote, with the help of technopedagogue Pascale Campeau. In this interview, she explains why her school made this decision, shares her advice on how to do it well and testifies to the positive impact of this approach on academic success.
Why integrate Antidote into French classes?
Pascale Campeau : We believe Antidote is a tool for life. And since our mission is to prepare students for the future, we believe that this writing software will serve them well both in higher education and in the workplace.
In addition, from a pedagogical point of view, Antidote can change the way students learn to write, with a more dynamic and formative approach, provided that they are well accompanied.
How do I start using Antidote in the classroom?
P.C.: You have to take small steps, because Antidote is a very powerful program, and you want to avoid cognitive overload. I recommend doing short and frequent exercises, focused on one notion at a time. For example, we can start the lessons with a "10 minute co-occurrence". In this short composition exercise, students have to write a text with 5 imposed words, using what they find in the co-occurrence dictionary. The entries are a source of inspiration for the students, who automatically enrich their vocabulary!
What impact do these exercises have on students?
P.C.: It completely transforms the way they write. Instead of throwing a draft on paper and reworking it later, which most kids don't do, students develop the reflex of writing with dictionaries. Add exercises on dull verbs and repetitions, and I assure you that this trio changes the life of a French teacher!
How do you use Antidote to motivate students?
P.C.: One great thing that Antidote's proofreader allows us to do is to identify and quantify first-hand the improvements we can make to a text. It's much more tangible to see the dull verbs pop up and then try to eradicate them! I like to use the percentage filters in the proofreader and then set a numerical goal for the students: maximum 8 % repetitions, for example. I have seen the positive impact of these goals in classes that are less inclined to apply themselves to French; I have even often heard exclamations of pride such as "Madame, my text has no repetitions!"
Pascale Campeau taught French at the Secondary I level for fifteen years before becoming an Antidote trainer and then a technopedagogue at Collège Trinité in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville.