Alexandre Lepage: Computer science, accessible to everyone!

In this École branchée educational meeting, Alexandre Lepage explains how computer thinking is important in education.

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In this École branchée educational meeting, Alexandre Lepage explains how computer thinking is important in education.

(text by Audrey Miller)

The “École branchée educational meetings” are podcast interviews with school stakeholders from here and elsewhere. In this episode, our collaborator (and concept designer) Marc-André Girard speaks with Mr. Alexandre lepage, master's student in educational technology at Laval University.

Mr. Lepage explains why he is interested in the development of computational thinking, in all contexts. What is computational thinking? He indicates that this is a fairly new concept, which is a form of reasoning by which one can solve complex problems using computers.

Linking two passions: IT and teaching

As a secondary school social education graduate, where does this interest come from? In fact, it is for him a way of connecting two of his interests: his passion for programming and his attraction for teaching. He says that from the age of 10-12, he programmed websites in HTML and was eager to finish his school days to find his projects! He was also drawn to teaching and, as there was no computer science curriculum, he chose another area he enjoys, namely the social world.

Mastering computer thinking, what is it for?

According to Alexandre Lepage, this is particularly important for becoming skilled at seeing a problem as a whole, including anticipation and consequences. To make himself understood, he draws amazing parallels with driving a car and washing dishes! These harmless tasks are more complex than you think when you take them apart, he believes.

If the link with computational thinking seems more obvious in mathematics or science, Mr. Lepage gives concrete examples of its application in the social world. For example, to talk about the great explorers, he suggests building, with robots, a kind of choreography reproducing the journeys of certain historical figures. In this way, he reminds us that we can work on geographical landmarks, the situation in time (Columbus before Magellan, for example), and much more.

He finally explains that, although Quebec is ahead in several areas, we are lagging behind in the integration of computer thinking into the school career. He recalls that it is part of the curricula of Finland, Great Britain and New Zealand, among others.

In closing, Alexandre Lepage insists: "Let's stop thinking that it is only to meet the needs of the industry. (that we should learn programming) ". He believes that it goes much further: "It is a question of reasoning, of formal thought, of problem solving".

 

Computer thinking: accessible to everyone!

alexandrelepageMarc-André Girard talks to Alexandre Lepage
Master's student in educational technology at Laval University

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.