John Couch, ICT and "precision pedagogy"

Differentiating is essential. And ICT is helping to make it easier. That's what John Couch, VP, believes. education at Apple.

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Differentiating is essential. And ICT is helping to make it easier. That's what John Couch, VP, believes. education at Apple.

When John Couch, vice president of education at Apple, comes before us to talk about the place of technology in education, it's hard not to be impressed. The man has been in the tech world since the 1960s and his friend, a certain Steve Jobs, recruited him to develop Apple's educational vision in the 1980s. He has also served on committees relating to technology. American education alongside President Obama.

This influential techie gave the opening conference of the International Leadership Summit in Education (uLead17). For him, beyond education and pedagogy, there is learning and this is what must be the basis of any educational act.

Couch emphasized certain important things in professional practices that can sometimes be evacuated in the heat of the moment: pedagogical differentiation, amplifying effect of technologies in terms of learning and teaching, active pedagogy, importance creativity and collaboration in the classroom, etc. He was particularly harsh in criticizing teaching for the average and the fact that too many teachers focus their teaching interventions on “the average student”, to the detriment of weaker or stronger students in the classroom. For him, the solution comes from what he calls “precision pedagogy”: targeted pedagogical interventions at the right times to meet the different needs of all students. Faced with this colossal task, technologies take on all their relevance and become tools promoting a pedagogy of precision.

Knowledge is freely available everywhere

It conveyed an important message: knowledge is freely available everywhere. The student does not have to “put up with” a teacher who divulges them in a trickle and tries to control their flow. For him, teaching goes well beyond the simple transmission of knowledge, which has become obsolete with the advent of technology, increasingly efficient search engines and ubiquitous social media. Among other things, the teacher is nonetheless irreplaceable since he shapes learning and suggests the guidelines to better contextualize it. It offers networking perspectives and opens up horizons for students to use curiosity and creativity to achieve their goals: to learn in a sustainable way.

Couch reminded us that coding will become more and more important in our lives. The world's largest store, Ali Baba, does not keep any inventory. The biggest theater in the world is Netflix, which does not operate any cinema. The largest media, however, does not create any content (Facebook). They all have one thing in common: the coding and the use of technologies to weave a network covered with algorithms. This is also an interesting plea to promote learning programming in the classroom.

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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