Rencontres de l'Orme 2.15: Teaching computer science, educating in digital technology

Report in two parts of our collaborator's participation in the 21st Rencontres de l'Orme, in Marseille. Today: the state of French concerns with regard to digital integration.

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Two-part report on our employee's participation in the 21e Meetings of the Elm, in Marseille. Today: the state of French concerns with regard to digital integration.

(continued from yesterday)

I had the pleasure of participating in Elm Encounters 2.15, which took place in Marseille, France, on May 20-21, 2015. The theme was “Teaching Computing, Educating Digital”.

This two-part account has first allowed to present, yesterday, what the Rencontres de l'Orme are and discoveries made at the exhibitors' fair and by discussing with students and teachers. Today, I am delivering a brief summary of three round tables I attended, which set out the concerns of our cousins with regard to digital integration.

I attended three of the four round tables presented during the event:

  • Teaching IT, educating in digital technology: what are the challenges?
  • Teaching IT, educating digitally: what lessons for what skills?
  • Digital creativity of young people: what contributions are linked to the acquisition of computer skills?

Representatives of Canopy network, of Ministry of Education, Rectors of the Academy, delegates to colleges, professors and various representatives of companies working in the digital field shared their thoughts. If there is one thing that everyone agrees on, it is that digital technology is an area that no one can escape. How to take the step, promote these new lessons that will prescribe the study programs and which will be official from 2016 for primary and secondary school in France, is the main question to which, each according to his field of specialty, submitted his point of view. view. Here is a short synopsis of some of the thoughts of these speakers.

The faculty faces enormous changes. The role of teachers is fundamentally disrupted by the massive arrival of digital technology. Those who traditionally held and transmitted knowledge must now adapt to a new function, that of accompanying schoolchildren in a learning process. It is now in direct competition with all the Internet's resources, the best as well as the worst. More than ever, media and information literacy is essential. Teachers should not be afraid of adventure, not to be nostalgic for lost skills, because the skills required in society have evolved: for a long time now, the machine has replaced the hand-made. The big difference is that now these learning paradigm shifts are happening extremely quickly.

Still according to the participants heard during the round tables, the national education of a state has two main functions: to share common knowledge between all citizens and to give them a job. The challenge of saving jobs is becoming essential with the advent of digital technology in all fields of the economy. Digital education should make it possible to turn our children into artisans by offering them the necessary tools for the transition from digital consumer to digital creator. Until now, we relied most of the time on extracurricular workshops for learning, coding, programming. Some suggest creating a pool of computer scientists to support teachers in training young people. A few point to the problem of the systematic production of coders, who are taught to use libraries of code to turn them into line workers. Others insist that mastering digital techniques matters more than learning coding and programming. For the most part, however, the school should promote openness with a view to forming partnerships with companies in the digital sector.

In France, local authorities are responsible for equipping schools. However, it seems that the fractures between the various municipalities are enormous. Schools must learn to approach businesses to try to get their participation.

Lastly, the problem of evaluation in the current educational context, where collaboration between schoolchildren should be encouraged and the development of project-based pedagogy should be encouraged, was underlined by some.


Teacher's conclusions

During my visit to the Rencontres de l'Orme this year, I liked ...

  • The “vibrations” of French-style digital culture, so different from the North American to which I am used;
  • Discover excellent digital educational applications in French;
  • Marseille and the charming district located around the Palais des Congrès, the Prado roundabout, the elegant avenue du Quai de la Joliette… and the sun of Provence!


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About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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