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A look back at the 2nd edition of the REFER, between humanism and utilitarianism

The second edition of the Rendez-vous des écoles francophones en network (REFER) ended with the hope of a third edition in March 2016. This year, 150 participants were gathered at the Neufchâtel high school in Quebec City, where the main activities were taking place.

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The second edition of the Rendez-vous des écoles francophones en network (REFER) ended with the hope of a third edition in March 2016. This year, 150 participants were gathered at the Neufchâtel high school in Quebec City, where the main activities were taking place.

(photo: Yvon Fortin and his instructions for innovating in education. © L'École branchée)

Multiple conferences were conducted live with other homes in the REFER. In all, around thirty homes activities scattered around the world took part simultaneously in the event. This involved a whole technological logistics and an organization having to bend to the realities of time zones! Thus, France, Belgium, many French-speaking African countries, in addition to several other Quebec and New Brunswick households, were able to bring this meeting to life.

Several strong moments make REFER a must in education from here and elsewhere:

  • The interview with Michel Serres demystified the interest of the generation full of inches and their relationship to knowledge and technology. His positive vision of education corresponded wonderfully to the theme of the conference: Digital at school: between humanism and utilitarianism. The highlight of the event: its live participation in a debate with young people from high school, live from Quebec, Belgium and France.
  • The omnipresence of students throughout the event reminds us that education must indeed be at their service. They were everywhere! They were involved in all organizational tasks, of course, but most importantly, they were on the stage and witnessing the pedagogical strategies of their teachers. They explained to everyone, directly connected in Quebec as in the rest of the Francophonie, how the tweeted or how they experienced the #Alphabet Challenge. Beautiful educational approaches full of significance and, above all, what a life experience for these young people in elementary school!
  • The spectacular conference by Yvon Fortin which clearly and concretely demonstrated how innovation in education is experienced. Mr. Fortin has been able to exercise his magic through his impressive assembly of scientific material to express the impact of the transversality of knowledge with, as a backdrop, the importance of mastering the language to communicate and learn.
  • An abundance of workshops led by passionate educators, sharing their different visions of pedagogy, which indeed benefit from being disseminated.

In the words of Michel Serres, the REFER represents the idea of collective connected in contemporary education. On this day of the Francophonie, the REFER was the perfect event, located at the confluence of three essential themes in Francophone education: the importance of French in the participating countries, the integrative potential of ICT in pedagogy and, of course, new pedagogical approaches.

In short, the REFER embodies the ideal of Francophone education and testifies to the liveliness and enthusiasm of the entire Quebec school community. Thanks to the vision and the creative initiative of the organizers, volunteers and participants, the conference clearly bears witness to the avant-garde of Quebec pedagogy.

Did you miss the event or want to go back to it? Watch the YouTube channel where the video recordings captured during this edition will soon be added.

About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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