Education

Baccalaureate reform: an opportunity to develop digital education?

The reform of the baccalaureate is a major undertaking that will bring about in-depth changes in teaching practices. The new assessment methods will change the rules of the game with which high schools will have to deal, by reinforcing the integration of digital resources into their practices.
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Ahe government has set the tone: four written tests, reinforced continuous assessment, promotion of oral skills... All these ideas highlight the challenges to be met. Indeed, this reform, which will affect the "digital natives" in particular, will inevitably be accompanied by a long-awaited digital transformation. The executive's objectives must be concrete, following the example of the Île-de-France Region, which is aiming for a rate of 100% of high schools connected to very high speed broadband by 2020.
 
Success for all has so far been the wishful thinking of governments. Digital inclusion and budgetary efforts do not seem to have had the desired effect in fostering individual pathways and success. With technologies that are accustomed to consuming on demand, the traditional pedagogical face-to-face, imposing identical content, in the same unit of time, has really lost its meaning. The education sector is struggling to find its place.
 
Couldn't we finally give digital the same importance as the blackboard and the manual? With à la carte courses and a personalised evaluation system, digital technology would allow students to follow their progress, ask their tutors, and propose other resources that they have experienced themselves.
 
Is it a utopia? Well, no, because these tools are already present in a good number of establishments but remain under-exploited. So, weren't the current methods of evaluating the baccalaureate ultimately a brake on pedagogical innovation?
 
Let us take advantage of the reform to pay special attention to the young adult. Thanks to digital technology, it will be possible to consider them as belonging to the school community, to personalise the messages dedicated to them, to adapt their course according to their projects... The school will then be a meeting place, where students will enjoy meeting their tribe and exchanging with their teachers. An attentive, responsive school, committed to success for all, ensuring the development of these young people in order to facilitate their access to learning and allow the least privileged students to overcome the social barriers imposed on them.
 
The issue of a fair assessment is also raised by the idea of attributing 40 % to continuous monitoring. But how can a fair and standardised assessment be guaranteed? Here too, digital technology could provide an answer. Some evaluations are already done by digital tablets, and competitive exams are already dematerialized to ensure rapid, anonymous and decentralized correction. One could envisage the evaluation of pupils by teaching teams from other regions, via videoconferencing tools, MCQs or the correction of dematerialized copies, which would be fairly easy to set up. During the year, virtual copies could even be corrected by several teachers, as is often the case in Sweden, for example, so that averages are comparable.
 
Another challenge: to improve the level of oral expression thanks to a great oral at the end of the course. But over a sequence of one hour that could be dedicated to this exercise, very few students will be able to express themselves. Digital technology would allow them to record their exercises and then comment on them with the teacher. Thanks to videoconferencing tools, students could also carry out their assessments remotely or connect with other groups to draw inspiration from advice and guidance given by teachers in other high schools.
 
The great oral also implies a transdisciplinary work: the oral is indeed worked on in all disciplines, from sport to philosophy. Working in "tribe" mode, learning via dedicated platforms... Modern practices (streaming, web applications, ephemeral projects...) would encourage the development of skills related to public speaking. A pedagogy by project over three years could also be set up to teach people to work in a collaborative way. Digital technology would make it possible to devote more time and resources to those who find themselves in difficulty, while providing the best pupils, whose skills would already be acquired, with the resources needed to improve their oral skills, for example, in modern languages.
 
It remains to ensure that digital technology is effectively proposed as one of the pillars of the reform, and to encourage the entire teaching team to move towards a project approach to teaching, to value skills more than knowledge, and to use digital technology to disseminate fundamental knowledge and monitor skills. Better integrated digital resources in high schools, assimilated by teachers and students, will enable the latter to recognize themselves in these new practices and will promote their involvement and success. Let us give these young, hyper-connected "terminal men" the tools that will enable them to distinguish between good and bad information, so that they can build their projects effectively.
 
It is time to look at building a coherent digital pathway from primary school to higher education to educate the new generations to the digital worlds around them. Perhaps this will be the direction in which the work of the Scientific Council wanted by Minister Blanquer will go, whose work has been underway since February 1 at the Collège de France.
 
Cyril Perez, Project Manager Education at Unit4
 

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