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Why engage in digital pedagogical transformation?

Benoit Petit and Marie-Claude Rancourt, of the RÉCIT National Service for School Administrators, recently presented a webinar for school principals. The objective was to remind them of the decisive role they can play in contributing to a harmonious, meaningful, coherent and sustainable transition to digital in schools. 

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Benoit Petit and Marie-Claude Rancourt, of the RÉCIT National Service for School Administrators, recently presented a webinar for school principals. The objective was to remind them of the decisive role they can play in contributing to a harmonious, meaningful, coherent and sustainable transition to digital in schools. 

From the outset, Benoit Petit recalled that the entire school network had to board the digital train in the spring of 2020. "If some watched the train pass before March 2020, they had no choice but to board with the establishment of distance education. Now, even though the train is moving at high speed, it is important to take a break to develop a vision for the future. »

In Quebec, schools can count on several benchmarks that guide digital transformation in schools. According to Mr. Petit, the two main ones to know are the Reference framework for digital competence,  from the Ministry of Education, and the Educate for digital report, of the Superior Council of Education of Quebec. 

Although the Reference Framework was designed for students, "all education stakeholders should feel concerned and strive to develop their own skills". Moreover, this frame of reference is possibly the only one in the world to present the notion of ethical citizen in the digital age.

For its part, the report of the Higher Council for Education, published in 2021, details in detail why teachers must now teach digitally rather than simply teach digitally. 

 

Assume a leadership role

In their environment, school administrators must assume their leadership role to direct any action aimed at change, whether digital or not. “Too many school managers still think that they cannot lead the digital transition in their school because they do not master all the digital cogs. They then have the reflex to delegate change management to someone else. However, they don't need to be experts: they just need to be convinced and communicate the importance of leading the change”, maintains Benoît Petit.

“Effective managements are not mere messengers conveying ministerial expectations and directives. »

-Leclerc, 2012, p. 103

Once the leadership is well assumed, it is possible to undertake a process to lay the foundations of a shared vision. Naming the issues, targeting common objectives, thinking collectively, defining one's mission, mobilizing, answering the why... these elements should be part of the discussions.

Even if the current situation does not seem ideal to stop and reflect on these aspects, Mr. Petit is convinced that it offers possibilities for action. Perhaps digital technology was implemented as a matter of urgency in certain circles. Now, it is time to take a look at the learning achieved (both for teachers and students) in order to bring school teams to find meaning in digital technology in a long-term perspective. 

Moreover, digital alone is not enough, recalled Benoît Petit. “We have to manage to combine the use of digital tools with pedagogical practices, so that it will be possible to bring out the real added value of digital technology for education. »

A word on artificial intelligence

These two words still seem very complex and represent a possibility of the future for many. Nevertheless, the development of artificial intelligence is identified by Benoît Petit as being one of the reasons why school administrators must immediately turn to the implementation of a longer-term digital vision in their environment. 

“Artificial intelligence is in our lives and we don't always realize it. Every day, we use apps on our phones and computers. Most of these are controlled by artificial intelligences, algorithms. They are not neutral,” he says. Thus, ethical questions become ubiquitous in our society. These technologies make our lives easier, but they empower those who design them. “We need to develop our understanding of the challenges associated with the possibilities of artificial intelligence. »

He also spoke of the Société GRICS, supplier of several technological tools for schools, which is currently working on the Mozaïkdata project, aimed at collecting data on Quebec students in order to analyze elements such as their risk of dropping out. “This type of project raises questions in schools. Will the algorithms be able to predict well? Won't there be a risk of stigmatizing students? To demotivate others? »

The complete presentation is available on the RÉCITGS website.

A resource for understanding algorithms: How to explain what an algorithm is in a simple way? Using a pancake batter recipe as an example and organizing the information in a Genial.ly. The result is here and will allow the most neophyte to understand!

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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