Technologie and school

At Ecole Jeannine Manuel, we believe that the question should be technology and school, rather than technology at school. Our focus, therefore, is not having one-to-one tablets (or computers), interactive white boards, or other IT equipment at school; rather, it is to explore if and how pedagogical practices can be enhanced.

From a very, very early age, today’s digital natives live in a connected world. Harnessing the extraordinary resources of that world to enhance student engagement and learning is the challenge of all educators. Cognitive science tells us that active engagement is the most critical pillar of the learning process. Our goal is to exploit IT tools and resources, but not necessarily – not even principally – at school. The “flipped” classroom, where students acquire content online, at home, from resources such as Kahn Academy, podcast conferences, lectures or forums provides examples of how teachers can use technology to support their students and focus the classroom experience on engaged thinking: questioning, doing, sharing, analyzing, debating…

KWYK™, an online app developed by an alum, exemplifies how technology can enhance pedagogy. This app supports our Math Facts Lab (chantier calcul) from 6th to 10th grade. It is cloud-based and available to students anywhere at any time. The multi-year progression – developed in partnership with our Math department – is built upon a network of building blocks of math reasoning. An adaptive spaced-repetition software, KWYK™ generates problems and drills uniquely tailored to each student, taking into account past achievements. Known concepts reappear infrequently –for consolidation – and students focus on what they need to know without wasting time with what they have mastered. At the same time, comprehensive dashboards provide teachers detailed information on the commitment and progress of each student. This outsourcing of basic math fluency raises the level of every student and enables teachers to focus on more demanding cognitive tasks in class.

Overall, the School is involved in the ongoing international conversation about the role of technology in education, including “flipped” classrooms and the potential use of MOOCs and SPOCs. But our involvement is always mindful of the fact that school is not a technological platform, it is the learning hub of a student’s educational space, a logo-system blending resources, promoting collaborative learning and helping teachers become the cognitive engineers of their students’ learning experience.

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