The characteristics to look for and those to avoid in order to find truly educational ICTs

The term "educational" is associated with several applications as well as several technologies. Beyond marketing and the craze for novelty, how to judge their real educational potential? A study attempts to identify its characteristics.

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The term "educational" is associated with several applications as well as several technologies. Beyond marketing and the craze for novelty, how to judge their real educational potential? A study attempts to identify its characteristics.

In recent years, several studies have improved our understanding of learning processes. Based on these different works, coming from disciplines such as psychology, cognitive sciences and linguistics, researchers have identified the characteristics which make it possible to judge the educational potential of applications and technologies.

Entitled Putting education into educational technologies: lessons from the learning sciences, the study makes it possible to identify the applications and technologies likely to constitute educational tools.

The authors of this study affirm that it is necessary look for applications and technologies that meet certain characteristics and, conversely, that deviate from other characteristics.

 

The characteristics to focus on ...

According to the authors, an application or technology is likely to have educational potential if it:

  • makes students active learners;
  • engages students in their learning without distracting them;
  • is meaningful in the context of the student;
  • develops the students' curiosity and their autonomy to learn;
  • allows you to socialize and interact with your peers.

The more an application or technology possesses these characteristics, the more likely it is to constitute a relevant educational tool.

 

… And those to flee!

Conversely, the authors claim that the characteristics of certain applications and technologies distance them from their educational potential. They recommend that parents and teachers avoid or limit those that have any of these characteristics:

  • makes students passive learners;
  • distracts students;
  • is out of context and unfamiliar to the student;
  • get the student to work alone.

 

For the authors, this work helps to differentiate entertainment from education and, by extension, to develop truly educational technologies.

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About the Author

Dominic leblanc
A graduate in sociology, Dominic Leblanc is an educational advisor in the Programs and Educational Development Department of the Cégep régional de Lanaudière in L'Assomption.

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