Montréal-Nord - Welcome to the iClasse, a grade 6 class for the 21st century, fully technological without textbook or desks.
“Young people put more effort into their work when they know it will be broadcast,” begins Pierre Poulin, teacher in a class of 6e year at Wilfrid-Bastien school in Montreal. Thus, if all learning leads to work that is published on the Web, the motivation rate in the classroom increases! This teacher, who is preparing a doctoral research based on the class he is piloting, uses technopedagogy to highlight the strengths of each of his students.
His adventure began in 2003, when he began to publish all the work of the students in his group, visible only to the parents of each student. He notices that young people apply themselves to their tasks and are more successful. In June 2009, the public school in the Saint-Léonard district received a donation of computers. Pierre Poulin proposes to create a technological class there where each student has a computer. From September, theiClass open their doors.
“Technology is our resource, not our goal,” explains Poulin. Its students develop the skills defined by the program of the Ministry of Education by working as a team, with precise and rigorous guidelines; within the established criteria, they work very creatively. For example, a group can edit a video to present geography research or create a web page to exhibit knowledge of history.
As he is preparing his doctoral thesis, Pierre Poulin leaves his class in the hands of his colleague François Bourdon for half the week. They separate the didactic teaching tasks and take turns accompanying the pupils who work on their educational projects, on the computer or on a tablet such as the iPad.
First and foremost, parents need to be open to their child learning through projects, and their work being done on computers. "Not all parents accept that their child participates in a blog, that the press visits his class and that he publishes his achievements on the Web," says François Bourdon. After parental approval, the desire of young people to participate in iClass determines the selection of students.
Students who join the iClass are not selected on the basis of their academic performance. “We placed students who had learning difficulties and behavioral problems in our iClasse,” describes Isabelle Massé, principal of Wilfrid-Bastien school. They were particularly successful: the learning method stimulated their talent in a different way. An autistic student was also integrated into the class. “The use of computers allowed her to express herself and develop her autonomy,” she explains.
The young people who graduate from the iClass are therefore very good at researching and presenting school projects using technological tools. “These skills will remain useful throughout their life,” concludes Pierre Poulin. I believe that the iClasse is an ideal place to stimulate new pedagogical practices. "