Education and Digital: what are the challenges for tomorrow?

No doubt, the digital transformation of education is on the move. However, this upheaval is not without questions, mainly because it highlights the gap that sometimes exists between new technologies and the reality on the ground. This one appeared in particular during the EduSpot exhibition whose first edition took place at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, on March 8, 9 and 10, 2017.

New techno vs reality field

On the side of new technologies, virtual reality is starting to find a place in education, while artificial intelligence finds in education a natural ground of application, as explains the researcher Yves Demazeau, president of Afia (French Association for Artificial Intelligence), for example evoking deep learning or personalization of training.

At the same time, the actors in the field face particular problems. Thus, the Inspector of Education Philippe Roederer, academic delegate to the digital academy of Créteil, stresses that to create “100% digital schools”, it is still necessary to ensure that electrical outlets are well installed in institutions, which is far from always the case.

In the same way, the president of the Paris-Sorbonne university BarthélémyJobert recalls initiating a project to renovate two amphitheatres to equip them with digital equipment two years ago already. And always tells to wait, for technical reasons and the implementation of works whose budget is well planned and available.

Finally, while many start-ups are investing in the niche of education, many of them also report their difficulties with this market, which is particularly difficult to penetrate, for reasons of culture, centralism, but also administrative heaviness. However, from a very pragmatic point of view, Victor Wacrenier, founder of Appscho, underlines that “if in Edtech we carry a societal vision, we remain companies”.  Check how to write classification essay on

Legal, pedagogical and societal issues

In addition to the financial and technologicalchallenges, facing education stakeholders to produce adapted (and used) tools in classrooms, the problems are also of a legal nature.

Director of Education at Open Classroom, ErwanPoiraud gives the example of this start-up producer of MOOC (Massive online open courses) which today issues certificates recognized at the RNCP (national directory of professional certifications) but has not “Not the right to do internships to students because it must justify for this 200 hours of course.

How to do when the entire curriculum is conducted remotely? Asks ErwanPoiraud. Similarly, “to open an apprenticeship curriculum, you need to have a class of at least six students,” he explains, while the principle of OpenClassroom is to offer everyone to enrol in a training program. When he wants it and follow it at his own pace.

And what about the robots that are sure to make their appearance in the classrooms, which the American university Georgia Tech gave a glimpse by making artificial intelligence Jill Watson dialogue with the students, instead of an assistant?

In addition to legal issues, the turning point is also eminently pedagogical because what is played with digital technology is a transformation, even a questioning, of the role of the teacher. Several visions are opposed: while some continue to highlight the one who transmits knowledge, more and more voices plead in favor of an accompanist, a facilitator, possibly a coach according to the vocabulary used. But if the terms change, the teacher retains its central place here.

In contrast, Nicolas Sadirac, founder of 42, develops the vision – with an assumed taste of provocation – of “a school without a teacher, considered as an enemy in the sense that it restricts the students’’ creativity”. At 42, students learn alone or with their peers, and it is a software that manages their schooling, advising them to follow a particular course, depending on the results obtained by each other. “We let things happen, we recover the data, and we treat the chance to deduce paths,” says Nicolas Sadirac.

“The scaling up, the main challenge now faced by education stakeholders engaged in digital”

More broadly, the challenge of digital is deeply societal: understanding computer thinking will be essential not to be left behind in a society where connected objects and algorithms will take an essential place in the years to come. Hence the importance of teaching not only computer science and the code to the youngest but indeed the computer thinking itself, as advocates include Sophie Pène, Vice President of the National Council of Digital threat synonym.

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