Last spring, we participated in two public meetings of the Consensus Conference on the use of digital technology in education. All presentations as well as the content of the exchanges were discussed. This will have made it possible to prepare a report with seven practical recommendations that can be applied in workplaces and that has just been made public.
The ÉVA report – Equity and added value in the uses of digital technology for teaching and learning has just been published on the website of the Center de transfert en Résuccess Éducatif du Québec (CTREQ), which originated the approach. It testifies to the two themes that emerged from the work of the Consensus Conference, namely the democratization of uses (equity) and “return on investment” (added value for learning).
“If we follow these recommendations, the mediating role of the teacher will ‘take the lead’ as they master the digital technologies present in their classroom”, argue Josée Beaudoin, Thérèse Laferrière and Simon Collin in the introduction to the report. They were respectively co-chairmen of the conference and chairmen of the jury.
The report also mentions that “since teachers are at the center of the pedagogical expertise of a school team, they benefit from active participation in the selection of hardware and software technologies that are best suited to support their needs and their educational goals at the level local. Now that the school context is becoming more normal again (after two years of the pandemic), they should be able to argue that the educational component should always take precedence over other considerations when making decisions about digital technology in settings their respective
The objective of the Consensus Conference was to continue discussions and come up with recommendations that would make sense in the current context for the majority of players, but would also act as levers to move away from peripheral use, even in time. of crisis, in almost everyday uses for teaching and learning.
During the work of the Consensus Conference, “a dual orientation soon emerged: the need for a combination of equity of access and use and added educational value.” Thus, two axes were defined to structure the exchanges and reflections.
Democratizing the digital (equality)
“Although the pandemic has allowed a massification of digital technology in schools through the purchase of equipment, this has not necessarily led to its democratization, because it requires the implementation of educational and appropriate, meaningful and sustainable practices. »
Return on investment (value added)
“Not enough […] don’t replace traditional technology (board, manuals, work processes) with digital technologies while continuing to do, after all, the same thing as before. In short, costs in time and money must translate into learning benefits. »
Here is a brief overview of the seven recommendations (and their sub-recommendations). We strongly encourage you to read the report to learn more about each of them.
1. Digital, towards greater democratization of access, education and governance and towards greater accountability of the actors involved
1.1 Further democratization of digital access at school and at home for teachers and students
This recommendation is the premise for several others. Without access to the device and the Internet, the use cannot be made.
1.2 Further democratization of digital education
An explicit and exclusive space should be devoted to the curriculum for digital education (including its computational, ethical and critical dimensions).
1.3 Democratization of the development and application of digital measures in education
School management leadership will be strategic going forward, when they need to be able to establish local digital integration strategies.
1.4 Regulating the use of digital resources by educational technology companies
Free and general public tools used in the classroom do not necessarily comply with the legal framework for privacy.
2. Digital technology, the time needed to implement the right educational choices
2.1 Agree on new scheduling arrangements
Teachers must be able to schedule planning time for the transition from use to everyday use. Time must be arranged accordingly with school teams and management.
2.2 Free pedagogical days for teachers who, on a voluntary basis, wish to incorporate digital technology into their planning
Pedagogical days are valuable for mobilizing school teams in work planning (beyond training).
2.3 Provide an envelope to support volunteer teachers in developing learning activities and projects supported by digital and value-added technologies
Freeing up teachers to be responsible for developing and sharing best classroom management practices when electronic devices are deployed in the classroom.
“Greater usage does not guarantee added value. Conditions are required. »
3. Digital, “doing with” for classroom use providing added value to teaching and learning
3.1 Use digital technology to promote student engagement, a priority condition for success
Student engagement increases when the dimensions of digital competence are brought to life in the classroom: creation, communication, collaboration, problem solving, developing critical thinking, etc.
3.2 Create and make digital resources at your fingertips
School team staff can be called upon to collaborate in creating and sharing editable resources. Personalized content has become essential.
3.3 Target processes that characterize different classroom and school management dynamics to optimize digital uses
The use of electronic devices requires the implementation of functional processes that allow everyone to learn. It would be beneficial to involve students in defining these new processes.
4. Digital technology, to make assessment a lever for student learning
4.1 Take advantage of digital tools to assess learning
Digital makes it easier to follow students, and therefore to evaluate the learning process of students and not just the final result of a single exam.
4.2 Alignment of the Quebec Education Program (PFEQ), Digital Competence Framework of Reference, Learning Assessment Policy and Learning Progression (PDA)
Digital assessment should be presented consistently within ministerial documents to guarantee the principle of fairness for students.
5. Digital, towards supplementary services for hybrid and distance learning students to ensure their accessibility
5.1 Carry out an inventory
While gains have been made in terms of providing supplementary services to students, through digital, during the pandemic, a portrait of current practices needs to be documented.
5.2 Carrying out pilot projects
School service centers are currently reorganizing their services taking into account the advantages of digital technology. It may be helpful to provide them with the resources to make those pilot projects real.
6. Digital technology, an essential part of the initial training and professional development of teachers
6.1 Support communities of practice and learning communities focused on specific digital uses
Elevated communities should be structured in such a way as to favor the transfer of results to the classroom in the short term. Teachers experiment (action) and share (reflection).
6.2 Focus on winning collaborations between schools and universities focused on specific digital uses
Exchanges between universities and schools should be increased to bring theory closer to practice, highlighting new innovative practices.
7.1 Creating more stable communication channels with families
It is proposed to establish policies that regulate school-family communication, in order to diversify the means of communication (digital or not) and methods of responding to messages.
7.2 Formalization of collaborations with community organizations
- for the development of digital literacy: Training parents in digital technology and supporting them is essential in order for them to fulfill their role in the educational success of their children.
- for the benefit of student learning: It is suggested to facilitate distance extracurricular partnerships by improving activities eligible for financial aid and building on successful practices.
Now that the report containing the recommendations has been submitted, CTREQ is continuing its work to encourage reflection on the recommendations and to draw concrete courses of action for each of them. The first public meeting took place on October 26. A report of the discussions will be published eventually. We continue to follow the progress of this work for you.
Except this: The recommendations of the Consensus Conference on the use of digital technology in education are now available
References : Beaudoin, J., Laferrière, T., Collin, S., Ruel, C. and Voyer, S. (2022). EVA Report: Equity and Added Value in the Uses of Digital Technology for Teaching and Learning. Quebec: CTREQ.