Open letter to a tech-savvy teacher

I usually blog using a mostly essay style or argumentative writing style. I try to be objective, in the majority of cases, even though my opinions undoubtedly reflect my own values. This time, I allow myself to address the reader in a more personal way, abandoning the polite you in favor of an I , introspective and, totally assumed. I allow myself to be more direct and incisive.

My text which was published in Le Devoir on January 9th will have made it possible to create a small debate of ideas on the website where it was published: For or against the integration of iPads into teaching? Moreover, Le Devoir today published a text that refutes my argument. I invite you to read it and comment on it directly on the Devoir website. By reading the comments, which adjoin my text, this allows us to highlight the resistance which, de facto, directly corroborates my argument. We can read there reviews mainly based on:

  • The glory of classicism or the fear of being afraid

If I were a gambler, I would have wagered that the first criticism would come from nostalgic intelligences which glorify the great thinkers who have marked our culture. The sophisticated reasoning of it was much better before or especially it was done like that before and it worked. Why change?weighs down the educational perspectives that allow the world of education not only to adapt to the society in which it evolves, but also to act as a leader within this same society. Although we should not deny our roots and the foundations of our Western culture, the fact remains that these great thinkers were also anchored in their society of the time with the means at their disposal. And if Socrates had invented the internet, maybe their speech would have been different?

This nostalgia is so strong among some that it denigrates the advent of technology. A bit as if they prevent us from thinking or developing our critical thinking and above all, from educating our students to make good use of them. Everything that was done before was better, obviously …

What is certainly all the more frustrating is that it seems that there is a need to oppose the new pedagogical strategies to the old ones when in reality, we are only aiming for the integration of ICT into existing approaches. and not an annihilation of what has been done for many moons!

  • The ephemerality of technology or the art of shoveling forward

It is fair to claim that current technology is ephemeral. The problem, which isn’t quite one, is that it is changing rapidly. This is in fact a characteristic of a booming society. Faced with this observation, what should we do? There are two possibilities :

  1. Wait for all of these technological innovations to slow down or stop. This way, we can make a safe choice from what is on the market.
  2. Make a choice from what is available and assume it. This choice is made in consultation with teachers and networking activities with other schools mean that sharing the ups and downs of the choices that have been made by partners or competitors allows an institution to avoid pitfalls.

It is obvious that the first choice is impossible. At first, technological innovations follow one another at an alarming rate and that’s good! Then, allowing teachers to work with technology that does not yet exist or that is not up to date, allows their students to develop a certain comfort in what awaits them in the job market, where they will be constantly called upon. to use new technologies, in jobs that very often still do not exist.

All of this, of course, instead of postponing the need to make technological choices until later, leaving this prerogative to our successors, which, at the same time, exposes the lack of leadership of several teachers or school executives. current. And, this situation implies implicitly and strangely that the successors of the latter will be able to take the necessary decisions.

Finally, it is clear that several technologies are not at the forefront of the expectations of the school environment at the present time. It is for this reason that we need to be patient and accommodating to help make everything more functional. The teachers are specialists in pedagogy. With a good dose of creativity, they will know how to make these technologies relevant and useful for their students in order to vary their pedagogical approaches.

  • The invasion of the educational environment by the corporate environment or the desire to wash whiter than white

Some commentators who particularly appreciate criticism without bringing anything different or relevant to the debate worry about the omnipresence of branding in our schools. I understand that the iPad is a trademark, but like Frigidaire, Frisbee, Kleenex and so on, they have become proper names of frequent use. Possibly we refer to it too much. So what ? Is this the biggest issue in education today? Will this reduce dropping out of school? Will increase student and faculty mobilization? Will this improve the funding of our schools? I do not believe.

This desire to wash whiter than white or to close oneself to professional development openings on the simple and unique basis that we refuse to allow a brand to enter our school life exasperates me. I find this debate sterile, because the desire of some to protect the students from all these nasty multinationals who want the soul of our young people by retaining them from kindergarten is unfounded. If you had a great idea while developing a product and its trade name became a luminary in the field of education, you would certainly be proud of your accomplishment and this recognition. When we talk about Epson, Apple, IBM, Dell, Didacti or Moodle, should we necessarily censor the name to preserve the innocence of our little ones? However, nobody protests the use of Sharpie, Bic or Papermate pencils! And what about Cahiers Canada. Will we engage in a debate on Canadian imperialism?

We are concerned about our students and their parents who are quick to use conspiracy theory to explain a good number of school situations. Is it necessary that our teachers adopt the same attitude and that they see a necessarily capitalist plot?

Education is certainly one of the last areas that resists integrating ICT. Yet he should be a leader and pave the way for other areas. The technology is welcomed in most spheres of society. In the judicial arena, progress in the forensic field has completely revolutionized the professional practice of lawyers, police officers and judges. In medicine, you wouldn’t agree to your doctor offering you a lobotomy as a remedy for your acute migraine headaches. In the automotive sector, new, more efficient and less energy-consuming engines arouse your envy. But in education, all this scares us! Paradox: it is a little as if we were aware that the unlimited possibilities offered by our new tools,

Tech-savvy teachers from all countries, unite!

All this allows me to conclude that, from my experience and my observations, that the educational space is occupied more by teachers resistant to change rather than by those who support it. The latter are mainly at work on various virtual forums or in seminars or congresses where their clientele is already acquired. What I suggest is to continue this networking, but above all, to launch out on forums where refractory teachers confine themselves! We must positively contaminate these professionals and act as a multiplier effect.

In short, to paraphrase Marx, technophile teachers of all countries, unite! to convince your colleagues of the merits of your professional approach!