Joliette - Yves Thibault has been teaching plastic arts in Joliette for 7 years. During these years, he developed a special link with the Joliette Art Museum, which he and his students visit every year. When the head of educational services heard about the Young Curators of the Future project, she immediately thought of the fifth secondary students of the plastic arts concentration at Barthélémy-Joliette school who have agreed to use Facebook as a working tool.
As part of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, some sixty Canadian students took part in this project on the museum profession. They had to choose a work, do a search, put together a conservation file and even create a new work from the first. The work of the young people will be available online very soon and will be presented in the Canadian pavilion at the World Fair.
So why Facebook? “To communicate with other participants, comment on their work and ask questions,” explains teacher Yves Thibault. The Samares school board allowed us to unblock the Facebook site on the school computers for the 10 participants in the project, on the sole condition of reassuring parents about the confidentiality settings. "
The parents of the participants therefore all received a letter explaining how to protect the personal information of children on the networking site: do not enter the sex and date of birth, do not display a photo, etc. Only the name of the school could appear in the personal information. Several young people already had a Facebook profile that they had to modify during the project.
The final Internet platform, developed by a multimedia agency, shows some delays in going online. However, only an avatar and a first name will be used to identify users. Participants will not be able to be contacted by visitors to the website.
The use of Facebook in the classroom still required some adjustments: “Young people only use Facebook for fun, they don't know how to use it as a work tool,” explains Mr. Thibault. He also notes that the students, despite what one might think, have little technical knowledge. “If I had to do it again, I would take more time to clarify the goals of using Facebook. It's not like going to read our friends' profiles for five minutes at night… It's really a working tool that you have to know how to use as such. "
This project is also a good opportunity to make young people aware of Internet safety. “Young people sometimes believe that Facebook is magic. However, they must understand that email or telephone are, in certain situations, more appropriate to ensure confidentiality, ”explains Yves Thibault, who has not received any complaints from parents regarding the project.
For the students of Barthélémy-Joliette high school, the project is now over. Even if they leave high school in a few days, Yves Thibault hopes that Facebook will allow him to stay in touch with his former students and to continue to follow their projects.
By Marie-Philippe Gagnon-Hamelin