A hacker, is often seen as a virtual criminal. Yet hackers are said to be the heroes of the computer revolution. Thanks to them, we had to push back the limits of security. The hacker we will talk about here rather responds to the definition expressed by the HackerOuverts.fr site: anyone curious about the operation of the objects that surround him, and who aims to make the most of their capacities for the pleasure of his own achievements. Nothing to do with a bandit!
Today, a global current called hackerspace offers people to meet in a common place to work on their projects while exchanging and sharing with other hackers, in an informal atmosphere. The essence of these plans is not to try to gain access to the secret files of the FBI, nor to defraud the customers of the Amazon bookstore! The new ones hackers focus on solving concrete problems many of which will directly benefit the community, as shown the list of active projects on the Hackerspaces.org site.
And what does the school have to do with all of this? Part of the answer lies in the very definition of the hacker: he does not necessarily have the knowledge, but he masters the skills that will allow him to obtain the knowledge when it is needed. This is what a "geek" father wrote on his blog in an article quite confusing for newbies, " Why I want my daughter to be a hacker "(Why do I want my daughter to be a hacker). It indicates that a hacker is simply someone who likes to discover and do things on their own. He gives four reasons why he wants his daughter to be one:
1. The hackers advocate small communities, therefore the independence of social systems that aim for generalization.
2. The hackers development above all their skills, not so much their knowledge.
3. The hackers can " hacker Not only electronics, but everything. For example, the food distribution chain by planting a garden, dependence on electricity by installing solar panels, etc.
4. The hackers prefer open and free tools, to ensure that they will be available for generations to come.
As to hackerspaces, learning and sharing are their main objectives. It sounds like socioconstructivism to be mistaken. It is the skills-based approach applied in a concrete way.
The animators of the STORY OF Mathematics, Science and Technology, Pierre Couillard and Pierre Lachance, are already working in the spirit hackerspace although they were not familiar with this current when we spoke to them. They take the applications that exist and adapt them to achieve the educational goals they have in mind.
Moreover, Pierre Lachance points out that this spirit reflects the raison d'être of national and local RÉCITs: the animators identify content and software (mainly free) that they adapt, use, create or share to meet the needs. "The contributions we have made to various projects always aim to improve / adapt a product which, in our opinion, has significant educational potential for the Quebec school network," explains Pierre Couillard. Some examples: implementation of WikiniMST, deployment of SPIP, creation of a timeline in social universe, free software translation Geogebra and the application Scratch from MIT, Geometria, etc.
Pierre Lachance believes that “the school has a lot to gain from collaborating in the construction of expertise / content and sharing it with a free license, that is to say that allows others to resume work, modify it, and redistribute it. "
Form of hackers
Now, we should see how to transport this way of doing things to the students in our schools.
In France, Thomas Maillioux, teacher librarian, tried the experiment of hackerspace during the 2010-2011 school year with the students of the Evariste Gallois College. It was young people who approached him because of his reputation as a handyman. For two hours each week, he and students would meet and try to answer their questions about computers, electronics, programming and video games.
What made this hackerspace so successful was that the projects were chosen by the students themselves and were not evaluated. Very importantly, in the hackerspace philosophy, we give back its place to error as an integral part of the learning process. “The ability for students to experiment without being scored, to program a line of code wrong, burn out an electrical component, or fail to operate a circuit simply gave them more freedom to fumble around and to make a mistake - to learn by mistake, ”explains Mr. Maillioux in an interview with theInfobourg.
How to set up a hackerspace at school? Thomas Maillioux suggests to adult instigators to meet "real" hackers to familiarize yourself with the type of atmosphere that reigns there. Thus, they will be equipped to maintain it when students want to embark on the adventure. He also suggests preparing to learn from students. “Some young people were very surprised to see me take 3D modeling software lessons with one of them. Far from threatening my “teaching authority”, it allowed them to trust me and see me as “one of them”, so to be less afraid of making mistakes in front of me, ”he says.
In his view, the working methods inherent in the concept of hackerspace, or the possibility of working in groups on projects, the ability to share your own experiments, the possibility of pushing further research already carried out by someone else and the possibility of playing the role of the teacher from time to time , may be beneficial for some students in all schools.