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Digital technology in Quebec schools: the equipment is there, uses still need to be developed

Although there are still disparities between schools, since 2014, we have observed "a significant increase" in the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools in Quebec. This is the main finding of the most recent survey carried out by the Academy of Digital Transformation.

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Although there are still disparities between schools, since 2014, we have observed "a significant increase" in the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools in Quebec. This is the main finding of the most recent survey carried out by the Academy of Digital Transformation.

This survey, carried out within the framework of the Digital Action Plan in Education and Higher Education, aimed to provide a current portrait of the use of digital technology in Quebec schools. It also aimed to measure the progress made since 2014 when a similar study had also been carried out. A third data collection is planned for the 2022-2023 school year.

The results are based on responses from some 600 school principals who completed an online questionnaire. The participation rate of public schools is 23 % and it is 21 % for private schools. As the data collection took place during the year 2020, it should be noted that some results may have been influenced by the pandemic.

Internet and computing devices

  • In 2020, 97 % from public schools and 100 % from private schools had Internet access in all their classrooms.
  • 95 % schools now provide computer equipment to each of their teachers. In 2014, they were only 50 % to do so.
  • Whether or not computer equipment is provided by the school, on average there is now one digital device per two students (50 %) in all schools.
  • Likely due to the pandemic, almost half of schools (47 %) now allow their students to bring home school-provided computer equipment. In 2014, this was the case for just over one in ten schools (11 %).
  • Conversely, a significant number of schools now allow their students to bring their personal tablets and laptops to school (52 % from secondary schools and 77 % from private schools).
  • Half of the elementary and secondary schools in Quebec have at least one traditional computer lab (53 %) or a creative lab (51 %). Some 40 %s also have a robotics lab.

Classroom integration

  • In 2020, more and more schools were integrating digital technology into student learning from preschool (76 % compared to 67 % in 2014).
  • Teachers in private schools use digital technology more in the classroom than teachers in public schools. While 60 % teachers in private schools spend an average of 7 hours or more per week using digital technology in the classroom, 14 % teachers in public schools do the same.
  • Secondary school teachers also use digital technology more than preschool and elementary school teachers.
  • In addition, almost all school administrators and teachers (98 %) now use digital technology to communicate with the parents of students, a marked increase since 2014 (82 %).

Digital skills

  • According to their own perception, 79 % of private school directors say they are very comfortable with the use of digital technology. They are only 44 % in public schools.
  • The difference between private and public schools is also marked for teachers. According to the results, 53 % of teachers in private schools would be very comfortable with digital, compared to 15 % of those in public schools.
  • Moreover, overall, respondents estimate that around 10 % teachers still have very limited knowledge of digital technology and find it difficult to integrate it into their teaching.
  • Likewise, 27 % of teachers would use digital simply to reproduce the same tasks as before, but using digital technology (eg writing on the keyboard rather than with a pencil).
  • Finally, 25 % of teachers in private schools and 15 % of teachers in public schools would use it to carry out new tasks that were impossible before the advent of digital (e.g. have students produce a collaborative document using digital tools). 'an online tool).

Professional development

  • In general, the resources available to improve the digital competence of teachers were more accessible in 2020 than in 2014.
  • In 2020, schools are offering teachers resources to improve their digital competence, for example training (99 %), support, coaching or mentoring (87 %), free time in their schedule to improve their skills. digital competence (63 %).
  • Interestingly, public schools (64 %) are relatively more likely than private schools (49 %) to free up time in their teachers' schedules to improve their digital skills.

Link with the training program

  • Only one in three school directors (34 %) considers digital technology to be a very high priority for teaching and ensuring the success of the Quebec school training program (PFÉQ).
  • In addition, according to the point of view of 16 % of school principals interviewed, more than 50 % of teachers in their school find it difficult to integrate digital into their practices because of the requirements of the training program of the Quebec school. (PFÉQ).

The use of digital technology is growing. The results of the survey show that computer equipment is readily available and that several projects are underway. Nevertheless, significant disparities are observed from one school to another, especially between those in the public sector and those in the private sector. The development of digital skills for all remains at the heart of concerns and becomes a priority.

The full report can be read online.

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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