A (false) idea has been circulating (too long) about digital technologies in schools that need to be undone: according to some, they should necessarily allow the student to obtain better results and to have more skills. This conception, we tend to forget, is in tune with our modes of reasoning and intellectual production, which are themselves subject to capitalist rationality. As training in the use of technologies requires a necessary investment of educational institutions and, by extension, public authorities, we fantasize the idea of a return on investment. Somehow, we even start to hope for it. But wrongly.
Indeed, how could a tool – as smart as it is – be able to improve the intellectual skills of individuals? It can assist them, enable them to progress in their learning, facilitate their task, democratize access to knowledge, but in no way Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICT) – these tools and digital products used in education and teaching – have the power to improve our brain capabilities.
A context of technical and intellectual breakdown
When they first appeared, the paperback book, the textbook and all other forms of widespread print, the Bic © pen or the Mentéotypage ©, did not intrinsically allow the learners to increase their intellectual skills. They have, on the other hand, allowed a more massive and facilitated accession and diffusion to knowledge; they participated in a general elevation of minds, at a “leveling up” of skills.
Reading, writing, accession to knowledge were no longer the prerogative of an elite. They were now open to everyone. But the effects of these technologies of the intellect were not immediate: it took a time of diffusion then of domestication. However, as long as they existed, and the positive effects had been measured, they had become unavoidable. It was necessary to “do with & nbsp” without this exempting us from continuing to teach calligraphy gestures or to acquire beautiful bound books.
In the same way, ICTs mark a technical and intellectual break in the functioning of the education system. They are there to accompany, diffuse and facilitate learning. Teachers have understood this very well by using it in project-based pedagogies or adapted (or differentiated) pedagogies. The digital tool then fulfills a unifying function during a collective production (usually a blog or the animation of a social network to report activities conducted in the classroom). It can also respond to the need for acceleration or deceleration in learning, all people who do not have the same pace of work: the digital tool then supports the teacher who can not meet the specific needs of His students.For a training of trainers
Here we observe the undeniable positive effects of the introduction of digital technology at school, which reinforces the contributions of intellectual technologies that have subsequently been integrated into the educational environment; it refines them, but it has no place to hold as a vector for increasing individual knowledge. If everyone agrees on the great difficulty of evolving in our society without having minimal skills related to digital (find practical information online, make purchases, use social networks wisely; but also: to cultivate oneself, to learn, to discover, to have correct and ethical behaviors, even to the actual manufacture of digital tools and services), the commitment of the pedagogical body in this way is very variable, because it is little or poorly formed.
Generally, initiatives are taken individually and according to the skills developed by each, independently. It is not by chance that the term “digital natives”, used to designate the younger generations, has had a definite fortune in educational circles in order to establish this break between teachers (so- saying) clumsy and (so-called) resourceful students.
In this sense, it is the pedagogues who must first acquire the skills necessary to conduct this new mission which is theirs. A mission that consists in training the younger generations to master the technique, but even more: to master a true technical culture. A need that an institution like the Catholic Institute of Paris tries to meet in the 2015-2016 school year since it has decided to offer its teachers a training adapted to their needs. Without waiting for the first fallout, a third of its statutory staff is committed to this path to build skills as quickly as possible and best supervise students. The proof that the needs are there and that the motivations are great.
New professions: digital aids
But all the knowledge and skills needed to manipulate technologies are not the sole responsibility of the teacher. It is therefore important that educational institutions urgently equip themselves with digital aids whose task is to meet the needs of technical assistance and the production of multimedia resources.
Here again, the Catholic Institute of Paris took this problem at face value with its IT department by setting up an ad hoc service – the Digital Workshop – made up of a team that is there to meet the needs of the educational staff: installation and maintenance of equipment, capture of video resources, animation of a digital working environment, backup, management and storage of data, etc. Problems raised by the use of technologies in school that can not be divested and that also arise for primary and secondary stakeholders.