Where does the word “pedagonumeric” come from?

When it was launched in 2018, the Digital Education Action Plan (PAN) put forward the word “digital pedagogy”. This term has since been widely adopted in schools. Recently, on Twitter, Benoit Petit promised to document the origins of this term in Quebec and its adoption within the RÉCIT. So here is where it all began ...

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By Benoit Petit, educational advisor at the RÉCIT national service for school administrators

When it was launched in 2018, the Digital Education Action Plan (PAN) put forward the word “digital pedagogy”. This term has since been widely adopted in schools. Recently on Twitter, I promised to document the origins of this term in Quebec and its adoption within the RÉCIT.  

While doing some research on Twitter, I found anecdotal uses of the term from 2011, mostly by Europeans. Three different spellings were then used: “digital pedago”, “digital pedagogy” and “digital pedagogy”. These publications, however, do not appear to promote the term in particular.

In my opinion, the real motherhood of this concept goes to Carole Raby, professor and director of the didactics department at UQAM. On June 2, 2015, on the occasion of the Virtual Rendezvous of the RÉCIT, Carole gave a conference entitled “Technopedagogical reflection, based on scientific writings, in connection with the collaborative use of ICT in the classroom”. From the outset, she wanted to reformulate the intention and instead proposed a “pedagotechnological” co-reflection. The reflection on this paradigm shift was launched!

She then invited to abandon the term technopedagogical in favor of the term pedagotech. She had specified that this name was intended to further highlight the educational dimension (see her presentation) rather than tools: "We are going to talk a lot about pedagogy, not a lot of technology". This change that she proposed was quickly adopted by the RÉCIT community, as evidenced by the video of its presentation.

On December 8, 2015, as part of the Rendez-vous du RÉCIT, we are launching a co-construction site on the pedagogical leadership, which will transform into pedagogical leadership during the year. Indeed, from December 2015, I propose to organize the first Digital Pedago Appointment at the Commission scolaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, which will take place in December of the following year. In addition, on January 28, 2016, I am invited to deliver the opening conference of the Clair 2016 conference (my presentation). On this occasion, rich in the collective reflection of the RÉCIT around this project, I propose the adoption of the term “digital-pedagogical” to replace its predecessor. 

The idea of abandoning the term "technological" comes from the fact that it is too generic. The technologies are immensely varied and far from being all digital. Moreover, at the same time and for some time, an increasingly generalized consensus is gaining ground in the field of digital technologies; specialists commonly speak of "digital", quite simply. 

My proposal echoed with a certain number of participants who relayed it on Twitter. On February 4, 2016, I invite the educational community on Twitter to adopt the term “pedagonumeric” in the wake of Carole Raby's proposal. At this point, there is little reaction, if at all. 

Photo: Sylvain Bérubé, Clair 2016 archives

This term is however used a few times in the spring of 2016 in various events (REFER, AQUOPS, Summit of the iPad in education). During the meeting of May 10, 2016 of the worksite on pedagogical-digital leadership, the expression is retained and all those present adhere to it, as evidenced by this presentation which was in fact a co-construction document. This work was presented at the RÉCIT review meeting in June of the same year. From then on, this expression began to gain ground among all the members of RÉCIT. Subsequently, the pedagonumeric spelling (without the hyphen) will be used more and more. 

The term pedagonumeric is even making its way within the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES). The RÉCIT coordination team feeds this reflection to various government departments. During this time, the term continues to be adopted by a growing number of educators, both in Quebec and throughout the Francophonie.

Finally, on the occasion of the launch of PAN, May 30, 2018, the term knows its real consecration, appearing a few times in the official document of the MEES. In the lexicon of this document, it is defined as a synonym of technopedagogy. The term is also used by the Higher Education Council in its Education State and Needs Report 2018-2020: Digital Education at the end of 2020.

I have not been able to locate a scientific publication that defines or documents it. However, some refer to it (1). In fact, even if it has a certain foundation in the research of the concept proposed by Carole Raby, the real strength of this term and of the paradigm it underlies comes from its collective construction. It is the community that adopted it and shaped it through experiences in the field. 

(1) See in the mediagraphy: Jacoutot, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Rosa, Tahiri and Vanleene.

A special thank you to Jennifer Poirrier, Jérôme Desjarlais-Lessard, Marie-Claude Rancourt, Marie-Soleil Carroll and Martine Rioux for their lively and rigorous gaze and their so enriching suggestions, as well as to Alexandre Chenette for his unconditional support!

This text is published under license Creative Commons Attribution.


Higher Education Council. (2020). Digital education (p. 96). Higher Education Council. 

Jacoutot, J., & Pirolli, F. (2014). Introduction of mobile devices in schools: critical analysis of experimental reports. In XIXth congress of the SFSIC: Thinking about techniques and technologies.

Ministry of Education and Higher Education. (2018). Operating budgetary rules for the 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 school years: Preschool education and primary and secondary education. Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Ministry of Education and Higher Education & Digital Action Plan Implementation Office. (2018). Digital action plan in education and higher education (p. 85). Ministry of Education and Higher Education. 

Petit, B. (2016). Educational and technological leadership - Participation document 2015-12-08 - RVRECIT 15-16. Google Docs. Accessed June 14, 2021. 

Petit, B. (2016). Pedagogical and technological leadership - Initial reflection - RVRECIT 15-16. Accessed June 14, 2021.

Petit, B. (2016). Clair 2016: Opening conference with Benoit Petit. Clair - See education differently, YouTube.

Petit, B. (2016, May 10). Pedago-numerical leadership - RVRECIT 15-16. 

Petit, B. [@petitbenoit]. (2021). I am doing some research and I will come back to you soon on the origins and reasons for the adoption within #recitqc of the term #pédagonumérique [Tweet]. Twitter. Accessed June 14, 2021.

Petit, B. [@petitbenoit]. (2016). I invite, in the wake of @carole_raby who proposes to move from techno-pedagogy to pedago-technology, to adopt #pédagonumérique #TNIUQTR [Tweet]. Twitter.

Raby, C. (2015). RDVirtuel 2015 - Opening conference - Carole Raby - Collaboration and TIC.pdf. February 16, 2015, Montreal. Accessed June 14, 2021.

Raby, C. (2015). Virtual meeting of the RÉCIT. recitqc, YouTube

Rosa, S. et al. (2020). Focus on transdisciplinarity to identify the ethical and social issues of AI: development of an optional course intended for all students. International Journal of Technologies in Higher Education, 17(1), 88-96.

Tahiri, J. et al. (2014). MOOC… A mature collaborative workspace: The challenges of the success rate. Communication presented at the 2nd edition of the French-speaking Conference on Collaborative Systems (SysCo'2014), Hammamet, Tunisia.

Vanleene, F. et al. (2019). Digital humanities and participatory pedagogy: Case of an inverted multidisciplinary experimental class. Ela. Studies of applied linguistics.

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