A teacher of ethics and religious culture gives us some of his secrets to energize his course using various tools and technological resources.
The Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course is usually not the most captivating. Thinking about ethical issues, showing an understanding of the religious phenomenon and practicing dialogue seems boring or even unnecessary, in the eyes of some students. To boost such a course, but also to make it attractive, information and communications technologies (ICT) represent valuable assets. Here are a few examples.
AT Otapi High School, in Lanaudière, I myself use ICT as an ERC teacher to support students in their understanding of the religious phenomenon. For example, I regularly invite them to visit the Ethics and Religious Culture section from the website of the RÉCIT National Service, Personal Development, which is designed for both primary and secondary. In particular, this contains an interactive portion which enables an autonomous virtual tour of various places of worship of the great religious traditions. It also offers images of cult objects accompanied by short descriptive texts. Thanks to this resource in particular, I find that the students are able to better represent these religious elements when I mention them in class.
The tablet is also a useful technology during WRE. For example, in the Bernard-Gariépy and Fernand-Lefebvre high schools of the Sorel-Tracy School Board, it is used daily to allow students to read the news. In their course, ERC teachers then target specific texts and / or subjects which then become food for thought, discussions and argumentation. Teachers therefore use current events to engage students in class. As a result, they are well aware of the news since a moment has been devoted to them.
The Internet and the interactive whiteboard are also simple technologies, but very effective in WRE. A site like Youtube allows you to present videos in just a few clicks that highlight concepts seen in class. For example, so that students understand concepts like mutual aid, compassion or altruism, I present the devastation caused by the recent tsunamis or the earthquake in Haiti. I notice that when I describe the event to them, the students listen, but never have the same reaction as during the viewing. I can see on their faces that they realize the extent of such catastrophes. Sites like Wapikoni mobile (First Nations cinema) or the National Film Board (ONF) are also excellent audiovisual sources for me to present ethical issues that are sometimes difficult for students to grasp. There are videos on various subjects that can cause controversy, which subsequently become topics of discussion or which serve as a reference for analysis and reflection.
And you, what are your best practices or your favorite resources in the use of ICT in ERC? To go further, we will soon present another article on the subject, following on from Benoît Petit's workshop at the last AQUOPS conference.