Those of you that enjoy TEDx may have come across an interesting video by Louise-Amélie Cougnon from UC Louvain, who tells us how she sees the Classroom of Tomorrow. We are pleased to Louise-Amélie to share some of her ideas with us.
Over to Louise-Amélie:
I have always been tightly linked to education. I come from a family of women teachers (maths, language, primary education…) who were really passionate about their jobs. I grew up with the ideal of transfer of knowledge in a school environment that didn’t know a lot about technology.
Even my generation in the 90’s did not use technology into the classroom. But then arrived mobile phones and emails and Internet. Slowly, but surely, this technology entered houses, privates rooms, bags and finally… classrooms! Very rapidly, everybody noticed a change in the way people were communicating through these new media. Therefore, there was a need to study (what we thought was) a new kind of “language”.
This was my PhD and I somehow proved that we were not reinventing language but juggling with it. We are not destroying language, but playing with it. And I have been studying the relationship between language, classrooms and technology for a decade now. But then, after a few years as a teacher myself (I am a lecturer at university) and as a pedagogical director in a distance learning company, I realised that there was something more happening with this technology than the simple “language impact”. I then decided to work in a research centre for sociology dedicated to learning sciences. And here I am.
Today, I believe that a revolution will take place in the classroom through the right use of technology. Have you heard about the concepts of flipped classrooms, peer learning and co-construction? Well, lucky your are! Even though they are not new concepts, they tend to me ignored in the classroom. Not in Finland, not in Switzerland, perhaps not even in your classroom. But in most of them. I propose to widely integrate them in our schools and universities. And I propose to reinvent these concepts with the help of technology, not individual technologies, but rather thanks to shared technologies, the ones that enable more connections between
And today, this “digital presence” in the classroom is too often limited to the inclusion of electronic tools during the lessons, to replace them or to accompany them. Unfortunately, we are not yet “reinventing” the lessons with the help of these tools. I provide
some practical ideas to open a discussion on what could be a new and better school. Let’s resume my video with the following points:
Problem at school number 1: each child uses technology (personal smartphones, tablets and laptops) in the classroom to work alone (read, memorise, listen…), as it was already the case with his or her book. Idea for the future number 1: learning has to be made up of collective activities, not individual ones.
Problem at school number 2: we place our students in front of digital tools in passive positions that are boring and cause physical problems (backache, stiff neck, migraine, stress…). Idea for the future number 2: learning has to offer an open and active environment in which each student will be a real actor of his own education.
Problem at school number 3: we think that education and fun are two very separate worlds. School is still seen as a strict environment to which each of our children must defer. Idea for the future number 3: serious game applications offer a wide range of funny activities that will have to be used in the classroom of the future in order to offer a pleasurable environment to the child.
Problem at school number 4: we use the same activities for all students, even since we know that all learners are so different from each other. The numerous technology tools and group activities today offer very different needs that can be filled by different skills. Idea for the future number 4: we have been talking about differentiated learning for a long time; now, let’s really apply this concept to classrooms, where each student will be a potential genius of his own domain.
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