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Towards an “exit profile” of digital competence? Reflection for preschool education

2nd year students in the bachelor's degree in preschool education and elementary education at the University of Montreal offer an exit profile of a student's digital competence after their transition to preschool education.
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Second-year students in the Baccalaureate in preschool education and elementary education at the University of Montreal, as part of their ICT Integration 1 course, offer an exit profile of a student's digital competence after passing through preschool education.

By Audrey Raynault, B.Ed., M.Éd., Ph.D. 
Postdoctoral fellowship for Periscope network at Laval University and lecturer at the University of Montreal. Former teacher and educational advisor. 
and Andréanne Coursol, Valérie D'Amours, Guylaine Lalonde, Catherine Legault, Marcel-Nicolas Murillo
Second-year undergraduate students in preschool and elementary education at the University of Montreal

On October 2 and 3, 2019 the event took place Digital trends and Quebec winds: uses of digital technology in education. This event of the Transfer Center for Education Success in Quebec (CTREQ), organized in collaboration with the PÉRISCOPE Network and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, allowed various actors to reflect on the use of digital technology in Quebec schools. 

In one of the focus groups, the fact that to date, for all levels of education, no exit profile is proposed in the Reference Framework for Digital Competence in Education (MEES, 2019) has been addressed. An exit profile describes the characteristics that the learner develops at the end of his training. It integrates the skills and knowledge to be developed in addition to the values and attitudes to be promoted (Prégent, Bernard, Kozanitis, 2009). However, the participants were curious to know the perception on this subject on the part of the students who take the university courses of integration of technologies in education. Indeed, the 2019 fall cohort represents the first contingent of university students to integrate the content of the Digital Competence Reference Framework (MEES, 2019) into their teaching activities related to this course.

Thus, after taking their first course in the integration of technologies in education dedicated to preschool education, second-year students of the Baccalaureate in preschool education and elementary education at the University of Montreal began a reflection on a digital competence output profile for students after their passage to 5-year-old kindergarten. 

Approach 

In the fall of 2019, second-year students in the Baccalaureate in preschool education and elementary education at the University of Montreal, as part of their Integration of ICT 1 course (PPA2111), reflected in order to propose a "profile exit ”of the digital competence of a 5-6 year old pupil after passing through 5 year preschool education. Following this course, they believe that a thoughtful use of technologies from kindergarten onwards proves to be a practice that takes students into account in order to equip them to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, that of the digital one. 

They first shared their first ideas, on an individual basis, posting on various social media in order to get the public to react to their proposals. They used what is called a knowledge co-development approach (knowledge building) for this exercise. Based on their shared thoughts and public feedback on them, they came up with an exit profile. 

Based on the first and main two dimensions of the Digital Competence Reference Framework (MEES, 2019), namely Act as an ethical citizen in the digital age and develop and Mobilize your technological skills, they believe that this exit profile for kindergarten students could specifically target the following two dimensions: Innovate and be creative with digital and Collaborate digitally. 

In addition, they ruled out from their proposals the idea of targeting the dimension Developing critical thinking with regard to the use of digital technology as a backdrop to an exit profile. Indeed, several professionals from the preschool education sector have instead advised them to make prevention linked to the healthy use of digital technology and to strengthen the activities that lead students to create their identity and personality, a skill of the program.

Suggested output profile

By mobilizing one or more skills (6) from the Training Program at the Quebec Preschool Education School (PFÉQ), they propose an exit profile of the digital competence of a six-year-old student after passing through a class. preschool education 5 years. It comes in two elements: 

1- The student will have initiated the development of his technological skills with digital tools that allow him to co-create or create during the learning process. Used in this way, it can be assumed that these different technologies can promote learning opportunities in preschool students in which they will be active. 

2- The pupil will have been initiated into the healthy use of technologies and digital technology as soon as he enters kindergarten by learning how to manage screen time in various contexts in which digital technology proves to be a lever for learn, in order to maximize the opportunities for active use and minimize those for passive consumption (Romero, 2015).

Thus, they believe that the child could develop several communication skills and strategies for organizing his thought with educational and playful applications that allow creation and collaboration. For example, they believe that by introducing them to programming, robotics and certain applications or software allowing them to tell and create, in particular stories, children will certainly develop the six skills of the PFÉQ in preschool education, but also skills related to executive functions (activation, inhibition of impulsivity, cognitive flexibility, planning and organization, working memory, emotional regulation).

A complementary proposal to the recently announced Development Continuum

Unveiled in January 2020, the Continuum of development of digital competence (MEES, 2020) "aims to specify the scope of the elements of the twelve dimensions of digital competence and to situate them on a progression matrix in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced (...)", it "contributes to the operationalization of the Digital Competence Reference Framework by specifying specific behaviors, situations or contexts ”(MEES, 2020, p.5). In this regard, the levels of progression of the dimensions of the Continuum, even the one said beginner, sometimes seem more or less suitable and imprecise for preschool education. 

Indeed, the students and their lecturer believe that all the dimensions of the Framework are relevant to preschool education, but they have attempted through this exercise to select more specifically the dimensions of digital competence for an adapted exit profile. at this level of education. “Our proposal appears to us to be complementary to the Continuum (MEES, 2020) launched recently,” explains Audrey Raynault. "Through this first exercise, we wish to raise a reflection on the exit profiles or end-of-cycle expectations of digital competence for all levels of education in order to promote its judicious planning and its interdisciplinary integration of preschool education in university. "

References

Prégent, R., Bernard, H. and Kozanitis, A. (2009). Teaching at university using a curriculum approach: a guide for new professors and lecturers. Presses inter Polytechnique.

Romero, M. (2015). Educational uses of ICT: from consumption to participatory co-creation. Spotted at https://www.vteducation.org/fr/articles/collaboration-avec-les-technologies/usages-pedagogiques-des-tic-de-la-consommation-a-la

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