Just as François Hollande’s digital education plan is being deployed at French schools, a number of schoolteachers and other education professionals are using digital tools. On Twitter, there are more and dedicated education hashtags, showing a strong desire to bring teaching into the digital age. In addition to the twictation – a dictation on 140 characters, a number of other innovative online education projects have been launched: we had a look at some of them…
Aside from large-scale projects such as Viaéduc, known as “Facebook for teachers,” or Canopé, a support network for teachers in France, an ever-growing number of teachers are communicating via the social networks, particularly on Twitter. Totally unfazed by their increasingly-connected students, these teachers are constantly coming up with innovative, creative ideas to help them learn.
EDUCATION 2.0 WITH #twittclasses
Twittclasses, or classes in which Twitter is used for classwork, are increasingly widespread in France: there are currently over 600, from primary school through to higher education.
Teachers hold regular “Twittconseils”, or class council meetings via Twitter during which teachers can discuss students’ progress and organise future collaborations. Their motto is a famous quotation from Henry Ford:
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
During the #twittconseil 2014-2015, a number of projects and hashtags were launched or continued, including a number of fun new teaching methods, such as along similar lines to twictations.
With #devinombre, for example, primary school children have to guess integers or decimals.
#devinombre Le chiffre des unités est le double de 4, le chiffre des dizaines est 9. Le chiffre des centaines est 9 moins 4. Antoine
— CmAzé (@Cm71260) 1 Octobre 2015
“How many right angles intersect d1?”
#geometwitt, meanwhile, helps students resolve geometry problems.
— Classe de CM2 (@CM2_Brel) 16 Octobre 2015
“In my school, there are laptops and tablets”
With #Dansmonécole, primary schoolchildren can share their everyday school life by taking a photo of their school and commenting it.
Of course, teaching with Twitter doesn’t stop at primary school level: with the “Institute of Comparative Twitterature,” French journalist Jean-Michel Le Blanc and French-Canadian poet and teacher Pierre-Paul Pleau have set their students a challenge: to publish stories, thoughts or poems of no more than 140 characters, on a certain theme, genre and stylistic literary device (comparison, alliteration, etc.). This year, a network of French-speaking schools called Refer is organising a competition based on the same concept for 5 to 18-year-olds: contestants have to produce a work of literature in tweet form, either individually or as a class project, using a series of mandatory words.
DO YOU SPEAK #FrenchTeach?
Régis Doucet, a digital strategy expert, set up #FrenchTeach to bring together members of the education community who are open to digital technologies and promote the various initiatives that have been implemented in the French-speaking world.
One such example is #Edmuslive, a project dreamed up by Nicolas Olivier. To share his experiences of teaching with tablets and ICT, this music teacher organises regular live hangouts, real-time video discussions that can then be watched on Youtube. During the sessions, Olivier covers subjects such as how to create a musical project using a tablet, using digital technology for musical education, and teaching through games.
Another resource available on the social media, @Nipédu, a podcast dedicated to digital education. Run by three twittos – schoolteacher Régis Forgione, training consultant Fabien Hobart, and education inspector, Nicolas Durupt – it covers virtual reality, the flipped classroom and applications for tablets.
Even more outlandish is #DéfiDrone which tries to make learning more engaging by using drones, from kindergarten to post-graduate level. The idea is simple and involves helping students acquire skills and knowledge by getting them to work with drones and then sharing their experiences on the dedicated tumblr account. The aim to teach children to programme, cooperate, code and collaborate.
The “twitt-teachers” have really grasped the potential benefits of digital technology for teaching and have appropriated the tools. The rather encouraging results of their experiments confirm once more that the digital school isn’t for tomorrow, but now!
Find out about other innovative initiatives by digital makers in the field of education: