Many people in the school community believe that students are very engaged when they use technology. However, are they really engaged in the task, or are they just excited by the novelty? Here are different avenues of reflection on the question.
On February 28, the evening TEDxWilfridBastienEd on education took place in Montreal. One of the speakers was teacher and author Yves Nadon. He told how, over the past 30 years, he has seen the arrival of several technologies in schools. The arrival of these technologies was always accompanied by great promises of transformation and motivation, but he never saw any of those promises come true, or very few. We can listen here to his presentation highly inspiring. So technology would not be the magic ingredient to increase the engagement of our students. So what to do?
George couros, director of innovation in teaching and learning for the Parkland School Division, in Alberta, is writing a series of articles on tech myths in preparation for a presentation he will be giving at the next conference ISTE 2014, to be held in Atlanta. Here is a brief summary of his article The Myths of Technology Series - "Technology Equals Engagement" who is particularly interested in this issue of engagement.
According to him, it is important to distinguish between excitement in the face of novelty and commitment. A quick observation can show us that the two reactions are similar at first, but there is one that quickly fades. The novelty effect is always exciting and uplifting. Yet this exhilaration is quickly lost.
George Couros then takes us on another track by highlighting the difference between engagement andempowerment. This English term is difficult to translate, but it revolves around the idea of empowering an individual. To understand this, he offers readers a simple distinction:
Conformity: "you do it because I tell you to do it"
Commitment: "you do it because you are excited or motivated"
Empowerment : "You do it because you feel that you have the power to do something meaningful"
The nuance is that motivation and commitment are much less powerful than empowerment, which makes students feel that they are making a difference in their life, and perhaps those of others.
According to him, technology should not be used to increase engagement and motivation, but rather the power that students have to make a difference.
Finally, the technopedagogue Jacques Cool made a free translation of an image of Bill Ferriter in his article " Education in the 21st century: we are all learners! ". According to Ferriter, we are still only at the bottom of what technology allows us to do. This first degree only tries to increase the excitement or motivation / engagement of the students. Are we ready to empower students so that their learning becomes meaningful?