Whilst France is only just beginning to roll out the first “totally digital” junior secondary schools, some schools in the UK have already successfully introduced tablets into the classroom, as Sophie Curtis reported in The Telegraph on 23 August. So when is France going to follow suit?
After noting that over four in ten households have tablets, the UK has pledged to reduce the gap between the use of ICT equipment at home and in schools by introducing tablets into the classroom for maths, English and science. As Sophie Curtis points out in Digital learning: how technology is reshaping teaching, research by Ofcom has revealed that “six-year-olds have the same understanding of communications technology as 45-year-olds. […] Children are becoming computer-literate before they’ve even started primary school – and we’ve all heard about the techno-babies who can handle an iPad before they have learnt how to tie their own shoelaces.”
BRINGING TEACHING INTO THE DIGITAL AGE
So does this mean traditional teaching tools will become a thing of the past? Not necessarily: the aim is to adapt the learning environment to the cognitive abilities pupils develop through digital tools: as Drew Buddie, senior vice chair at Naace, the association for the UK’s education technology community, explains:
“It’s not about just shifting traditional lessons onto screens – it’s about allowing pupils to make use of their devices to truly enhance their learning while giving teachers better ways to track individual achievement and personalise lessons.”
Curtis, who took part in an interactive experiment using tablets in a learning situation, points out that whilst traditional teaching methods are still valuable, the digital approach engages pupils’ attention more – an undeniable advantage for teachers.
MEANWHILE IN FRANCE…
With use of digital technology increasingly widespread in households and certain local education authorities, such as the Seine Saint-Denis near Paris, experimenting with digital equipment in schools, France is slowly but surely going digital and should have considerably stepped up its digital education policy by the 2016 academic year. Watch this space….