Caroline Fiset Vincent, a pedagogical advisor at the local RÉCIT service of the Centre de services scolaires des Portages-de-l'Outaouais, was involved in a vast process leading to the implementation of a new program centered on digital technology in a high school in her region. At the last AQUOPS conference, she shared her experience and reflected on her role as a pedagogical advisor with the participants.
In January 2021, she was contacted by the new principal of a future school that was under construction and commonly referred to as School 040. The principal wanted to offer a "digital program" to students in grades 1 to 5 and asked for her support in setting it up.
In all sincerity and transparency, Caroline Fiset traced all the steps that led to the creation of this digital pathway that is part of a science and robotics pathway: meeting to better understand the need, designing the program, presenting it to the parents of future students, drafting a course description and even requesting the creation of new course codes from the Ministry of Education.
All documents and communications are shared by Caroline through the presentation she used at her conference and she invites those who will be in the same situation as her to use them. This includes the course description, the grid-matter, the evaluation grid and the in-depth learning.
Live it and do it at the same time
Inevitably, the question of which teachers would be responsible for these new digital literacy and creativity courses surfaced. Naturally, the administration had identified science teachers. However, after a meeting, it quickly became apparent that the idea might not be the best one, Caroline explained during her presentation.
In the end, only one teacher, with an atypical profile to say the least, took charge of all the courses in the program. An ethics teacher, he is very comfortable with languages, has traveled extensively and is open-minded.
He practically jumped in when he took over the course in late August, a few days (hours) before school started. He built his classes as he went along in the year. "Ideally, there would be at least two teachers so they could support each other," Caroline notes.
For the record, in September, the students started classes at a local elementary school since the construction of the new high school was not completed. So the equipment and spaces were not what was envisioned. Nevertheless, as Caroline mentioned, other than computers or tablets, one does not necessarily need other equipment to teach digital literacy at the beginning of the school year. Creative lab and robotics type equipment can come later in the course. Many concepts of digital understanding and ethics do not require any special equipment.
Taking a step back
Now that the digital pathway has been created, the students have entered their new high school, and the teacher is increasingly in control, Caroline wants to take a step back from the experience she had. "What do I own as a result of this situation? How far does my role as an educational consultant go with the teacher and his principal?" She led the participants in a collective reflection, as how sharing experiences can help one grow professionally and find answers to their questions.
In closing, let's mention that Caroline also received an email from the principal of the future school 041 to accompany her in the implementation of a digital pathway "programming and robotics". This is a story to follow.
Editor's note: On a more personal note, I would like to add that this workshop, scheduled in the very last time slot of the conference, when many participants had already left (I myself was tempted not to attend!), was for me one of the highlights of this event. Thank you Caroline for sharing!