Computer programming: A support program for teachers

Some 640 teachers from 250 schools across Quebec will participate in the Projet particulier d'accompagnement (PPA) for the pedagogical use of computer programming as part of a program set up by the Quebec Ministry of Education. This program will allow more than 12,000 students to be introduced to programming.

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Some 640 teachers from 250 schools across Quebec will participate in the Projet particulier d'accompagnement (PPA) for the pedagogical use of computer programming as part of a program set up by the Quebec Ministry of Education. This program will allow more than 12,000 students to be introduced to programming.

Nonprofit organization founded in 2017, valued is the service provider retained by the Ministère de l'Éducation du Québec to deploy a support program to support the teaching of computer programming in schools. The organization, headed by Christine Jost, was already offering support in schools in this sense.

The intention behind the project is to increase teachers' understanding of computer programming as a new form of language to be learned. Consequently, this language teaches the student to communicate, create and solve problems with a computer or a robot. Christine Jost, former principal of an elementary school in the Montreal area, is convinced that "knowing how to program is the basis for both scientific and digital thinking.

Participating teachers in the PPA come from some 25 different school service centers. Over the course of 10 weeks, each teacher will have the opportunity to participate in five 90-minute activities with his or her class and learn about programming. RÉCIT is collaborating with eSTIMe in the delivery of the activities.

Talking to a robot

To understand how a robot works, to be able to use it to its full potential, one must learn to talk to it. The director of eSTIMe believes that teachers must first become familiar with the learning opportunities for students, which are across all disciplines. They can then make connections to competency development and the Quebec Education Program (QEP).

Christine Jost gives the example of writing a story. In order for it to be coherent, it must respect certain sequences such as introducing the characters, situating the action in a given time or place, etc. Programming is the same thing. She draws a parallel between the cognitive processes of writing and programming. There are sequences to respect. 

In addition, the former school principal specifies that learning programming develops all the dimensions of digital competence in children, including problem solving, collaboration, technological skills, content production, innovation and creativity.

All can program

According to Jost, just 15 % of the population between the ages of 15 and 24 can program. "If we don't want to create a society of digital programming illiterates, we need to develop a taste for scientific thinking in children." And this development is good for everyone. For girls in particular, children from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), believes Christine Jost.

The APP took off in 2021 with its first cohort of teachers. The experience appears to be successful, according to some of the numbers revealed in a survey of participants. According to Ms. Jost, 91 % of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the clarity of the challenges, while 85 % of teachers felt they understood the programming concepts and 96 % found their students engaged during the activities.

Participating school service centers have already been selected for 2022. In these SSCs, interested parties may express their desire to participate in the APP.

In addition :

Get the Spring 2022 issue of École branchée magazine: Computer Programming - How to develop this skill?


Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
2- Develop and mobilize your technological skills
9 - Adopt a personal and professional development perspective with digital technology in a posture of empowerment

To see the Framework.

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About the Author

André Magny
For more than 30 years, André Magny has been going back and forth between journalism and teaching French to teenagers and adults alike. Freelance freelance writer for various media including Francopresse, he was also a cultural journalist at Law in Ottawa and in charge of new technologies at Soleil de Québec. He also did sports journalism in France. He has a weakness for the Francophonie, culture, sports, cuisine and politics.

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