The transition to distance learning has been an opportunity for teachers, lecturers and professors at all levels (primary, secondary, college and university) to experiment with new digital tools. Now that students are back in the classroom, actors in the education sector are taking a look at the uses of these tools to ensure that some of the lessons learned remain.
Sylvain Duclos, teacher at the Centre de services scolaires des Navigateurs, Nelson Jean from the Cégep de Rimouski, and Émilie Ringuet from the Université du Québec à Rimouski, shared their thoughts on the subject during a panel discussion moderated by Stéphanie Dionne, from École branchée, during the most recent ADF Week, organized by FADIO.
All three panelists agreed that adapting to distance education will have been easier for "those who were already on board with digital before." "For others, it was a real challenge. Some said to me, 'I'll never be able to do it,'" notes Nelson Jean.
However, regardless of their comfort level, teachers were literally overwhelmed by an abundance of digital tools. "It was mind-boggling," exclaims Émilie Ringuet.
Part of her job was to accompany and guide teachers in choosing tools. "I asked them to compare the activity they wanted to do remotely with the one they would have done in class. Together, we looked at the possibilities for achieving the same objectives. That way, it became more concrete for them," she says.
She adds, "This approach has led many teachers to place themselves in the role of the learner and it has also helped them to better understand the reality of their students. Teachers have become active in their own professional development," says Duclos.
Little is better!
In the end, many realized that they didn't need to master all the tools and that a fairly simple selection could be more than enough. "There are categories of essentials that were quickly identified: tools for communicating, reaching young people and being in constant contact with them (Teams, Classroom), collaboration tools to put students into action (subgroups, Canva, Classkick), evaluation or feedback tools to diversify the learning traces collected (GoFormative, Flipgrid)," summarizes Sylvain Duclos.
For her part, Émilie indicates that several professors have experimented with video in the flipped classroom to transmit knowledge, explain laboratories or present evaluations. Many have also used it to give more personalized feedback to their students.
While most teachers initially chose tools on their own, the diversity has led to a need for collaboration in the schools. It is important to remember that students have multiple teachers, and therefore possibly multiple platforms to master. "We have to take the students into account and be careful not to duplicate tools that have similar functionalities," says Sylvain Duclos.
To try it is to adopt it
According to the panelists, although the use of some tools was forced by the pandemic, many teachers have discovered their potential and now tend to reuse them in the classroom. The pandemic has also led to the mass purchase of electronic devices, the majority of which are now available in schools, opening up new opportunities for some.
Forms used as distance learning exams become formative quizzes to help students situate themselves in their learning. Other tools that provide quick feedback or are self-correcting, such as Kahoot, are also used. Recorded video vignettes are integrated into work plans. "The teachers duplicate themselves and thus free up time to help the students who need it," says Sylvain.
Émilie Ringuet concluded: "I hope that teachers will dare, test, explore and try. They have started to innovate, we must keep it up!
It is possible to listen the entire conference :
Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
3- Exploit the potential of digital technology for learning
8- Take advantage of digital technology as a vector of inclusion and to meet diverse needs
11- Develop critical thinking with regard to digital technology
To see the Framework.