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"Distance learning will always have its place"

It is not because the majority of students have returned to school that distance education is no longer on the schedule for some young people. We met (virtually) Nathalie Angers and Étienne Roy, from the National Service of RECIT for Distance Education (RÉCIT FAD), to discuss it.

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It is not because the majority of students have returned to school that distance education is no longer on the schedule for some young people. We met (virtually) Nathalie Angers and Étienne Roy, from National Remote Training RECIT Service (RÉCIT FAD), to talk about it.

“Distance education responds to real needs, which were present before the pandemic and which will continue to be so. Yes, we felt a collective relief when the announcement of the return to school in person. However, let us not forget that distance training is relevant for a certain clientele, ”argues Étienne Roy.

High-level sports students, young artists, children hospitalized or convalescing for long periods of time and even some young people with behavioral or mental disorders are all concrete examples. Distance learning can also allow schools to offer a greater variety of courses to their students.

“The pandemic will have made it possible to take giant steps to organize distance education at primary and secondary level. These achievements are here to stay and should make it possible to better meet the specific needs of certain students, ”he believes.

Pilot project in preparation

During the next school year, the RÉCIT FAD team will also support the Quebec Ministry of Education, which launched a call for projects to continue experimenting with distance education in certain contexts. 

Remember that in Quebec, the Education Act (article 459.5.3) does not allow distance education. This was exceptionally authorized by the government because of the health emergency measures in force in the province.

A first selection of projects is being analyzed and could begin in the fall. Already, during the last school year, material has been deployed in primary schools (at least one class per school) and secondary schools in order to allow co-modal teaching (a formula according to which students are in class and others take the course remotely at the same time). We will certainly tell you more about these projects.

Distance certification courses

Long before COVID-19 made its appearance, RÉCIT FAD and other national RÉCIT services were already in action to prepare remote versions of secondary school certification courses (the compulsory courses to obtain a diploma). secondary).

“Although the project was somewhat slowed down by the pandemic, the teams are staying the course,” says Nathalie Angers. Already, the history course of Quebec and Canada of 4e secondary school is offered at school service centers.

To provide these online courses, the Moodle platform was chosen. The RÉCIT FAD is also focusing on adapting this digital learning environment, which was mainly used at university level, so that it better meets the needs of secondary school teachers and students.

Various additions have been made, such as a teacher's dashboard (Apprentimeter) which makes it easier to follow the progress of learners, an editor of electrical circuits, a notebook of traces, taking pictures of mathematical procedures, etc. All these additions will also benefit all Moodle users since it is an open platform.

That said, the two people in charge of RÉCIT FAD would like to point out that all the certification courses offered in Moodle could very well also be used in face-to-face, hybrid or remote mode, in order to meet different needs in schools.

Microformations to come

Finally, the RÉCIT FAD presents microformation in the form of educational sheets on the theme of class-distance alternation. These sheets allow answers to questions expressed by teachers on subjects such as the class-distance continuum, feedback, inclusive pedagogy, the relationship with the family, free-standing teaching material, etc.

Webinars will accompany each sheet and will be available on the site STORY Campus during the fall of 2021.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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