digital conversion

At school, the screens are not new...

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The debate on school screens is a battle of Hernani. A quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns. On the Ancients' side, there is a desire to sanctuary the school from all screens. Even if it means going against the march of the world and creating educational deficiencies. On the other hand, the Moderns are full of praise for their technical-pedagogical prowess and nourish vast utopias. However, the arrival of screens is not new. They have only become more multiform. As one tool among others, their use is educational and offers the possibility of a differentiated pedagogy, at times deemed appropriate by the teacher. Faced with discourse without nuance and without common measure, it is perhaps time to give a little more.
Open forum
 

A progressive arrival of screens

The controversy around the shelves does not make history. Because in the school benches, the screens are starting to go out of date. They made their first appearance in the 1990s in computer rooms. The author of these lines, who was already working in computer science, as they used to say at the time, remembers training his son's third grade class every Saturday morning in such a computer room as early as 1999. Then, during the 2000s, we saw the arrival of the Interactive White Boards and the very first tablets pushed by Apple.
 
The Digital Plan wanted by François Hollande and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem aimed to democratize the equipment of shelves within the colleges. Due to political differences, but also to a cost often considered too high, the "tablet plan" was not followed by all departments, far from it, causing a real geographical disparity, favouring or depriving students of the possibility of covering certain educational needs on this digital medium.
And the tenant in title rue de Grenelle, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has clearly abandoned this project, reproaching it with "rather counter-productive results in terms of education and the use of public funds".
At the same time, the phenomenon of Bring your own Device (BYOD or AVEC, in French) is becoming more and more popular. In 2019, many students are bringing their own digital equipment.
In a disparate and multifaceted way, therefore, screens have - over the last two decades - taken their place in schools, either institutionally or more informally.
 

The use of the screen is school

Generally speaking, it is just as wrong to move forward as at school, where daily life is made up of screens. They are used on an ad hoc basis, as part of exercises that respond to a demand for participatory pedagogical personalization. Thus, on the class blackboard, interactive or not, only one pupil carries out the exercise. When the tablet or the smartphone allow the students to do it together. These tools make it possible to better respond to heterogeneous levels as well as to address students with disabilities (physical, dyslexia, dyspraxia).
 
Of course, the risks of overexposure to the screens are real. Blue light poses health problems and the supports have diversified (television, computer, tablet, smartphone). But should we point out that this overexposure needs to be put into perspective? Screens do not necessarily add up. Since the advent of computers, students have very often abandoned television. And that more than at school, it is above all the increasing personal use that poses a problem and needs to be regulated.
 

Paper can't disappear

And it must not disappear. The paperless school is a pipe dream. A hollow utopia. Pupils and students will always have writing needs as well as memorization needs, which studies agree are best fixed on the page. Notably cit of Pablo Delgado and his colleagues published in November 2018 in the Educational Research Review, conducted among 170,000 readers.
 
Moreover, not all uses are digital. The digital book offers additional content and interactivity when the teacher considers it pedagogically interesting.
 
At school, the screen war will certainly not take place. Whatever they may be, they remain tools to be added to the panoply of historically present devices. Provided the teacher's good judgement, they can be mobilized when there is a need to individualize, enrich the content and enable better academic success on a case-by-case basis, without neglecting either the tail end or the head end of the class.
 
Alain Ecuvillon, Managing Director ofitslearning France
 

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