La classe à distance

L’enseignant partageait son temps entre l’école où il faisait classe, participait aux réunions avec ses collègues, recevait les parents et son domicile où il préparait ses cours, corrigeait les devoirs. Et puis du jour au lendemain, il n’y a plus d’écoles ouvertes. Tout le monde doit se mettre au “télétravail”. Télétravail, quel drôle de nom pour un enseignant! Aucune des solutions digitales existantes n’a été pensé en remplacement de l’école physique. Aucun magicien n’a imaginé pouvoir faire disparaître l’école du jour au lendemain. Rien n’a jamais été pensé à grande échelle pour que les enfants n’aient plus à aller à l’école.

Il nous faut donc en quelques jours inventer la classe à distance – et non plus l’enseignement à distance.

La question est de savoir si la relation entre un enseignant et sa classe – seule garante de la qualité de l’apprentissage – peut se maintenir à distance avec une qualité équivalente ou proche de celle qui existait dans l’espace physique de la salle de classe. Toutes ces questions se posent à un corps enseignant mobilisé, compétent mais qui doit inventer dans l’urgence un nouveau concept: la classe à distance.

Ce qui demeure du temps d’avant

L’enseignant est le seul en charge de sa classe; L’assistance en classe est obligatoire; Tous les enfants ont droit à être en classe; Une classe a un emploi du temps; Les temps de la classe permettent aux enfants d’acquérir connaissances et compétences en suivant un programme.

Ce qui change

L’espace physique a disparu; Les élèves sont devenus invisibles; Les chefs d’établissement sont devenus invisibles; Les parents sont devenus visibles; Le temps s’est allongé: la journée n’a plus de frontières claires entre travail et loisirs.

Ceux qui font ces jours-ci l’expérience du télétravail à outrance savent la fatigue engendrée et la concentration exigée par des visioconférences à répétition, plus ou moins organisées et aux durées très variables. Rien de plus perturbant que de voir des dizaines de visages sur un écran, qui bougent au gré des prises de parole et sans jamais savoir quand parler, combien de temps, avec qui.

La leçon à distance ne peut être une copie parfaite de la leçon réelle. La capacité de concentration de l’enseignant et de l’élève n’est pas la même. Il leur faut des respirations, des moments d’évasion.

Aujourd’hui avec le numérique, il faut apprendre à faire moins, mieux, plus court.

La leçon

Chaque leçon en ligne doit durer 30 minutes au maximum. Au professeur, le travail d’amorçage, de défrichage à réaliser en classe: “le professeur donne l’envie”. Aux élèves l’approfondissement, le travail complémentaire fait “à la maison.”

4 leçons par jour; 4 x 30 minutes; 2 le matin et 2 l’après-midi par exemple. Entre chaque leçon, une pause pour se rafraîchir, “déconnecter”, réviser ce que l’on vient de voir.

Ne faites donc lors de la leçon que ce que vous vous sentez capables de faire en 30 minutes. Allez au plus juste. Choisissez.

Un conseil simple: Faites comme d’habitude! Préparez votre leçon avant de la donner sur une plateforme virtuelle! Ce conseil semble trivial. Il ne l’est pas autant que ça.

Il faut retrouver le cours dans sa simplicité d’avant. Un cours “a minima” mais comportant l’essentiel: les objectifs clairement énoncés, les points fondamentaux bien résumés, quelques activités dynamiques. Le reste, tout le reste, peut faire l’objet d’un mail complémentaire ou d’un fichier partagé sur l’espace numérique de travail.

Pour ce faire ouvrez un simple document word, divisez la feuille en 5 blocs; un bloc de 10 minutes (réservé au contenu de l’enseignement) et 4 blocs de 5 minutes. Attribuer à chaque bloc de 5 minutes une activité à faire en classe et sélectionner pour chaque activité un élément introductif (image, vidéo, texte, fichier son).

Bloc 1 – Ouverture 5’ rappel des objectifs
Bloc 2 – Enseignement 10’ le cœur de la séance
Bloc 3 – Activité 5’ Un exercice en réaction au bloc précédent (écriture, exercice de maths)
Bloc 4 – Activité 5’ Une vidéo, un extrait sonore pour exercer sa créativité et sa capacité de réflexion
Bloc 5 – Quiz 5’ Un questionnaire simple pour que chacun auto-évalue ses acquis

Gardez le document word et ces éléments dans un fichier sur votre ordinateur. Quand vous aurez à créer la leçon sur une plateforme virtuelle, utilisez ce fichier. Ne vous rajoutez pas de contraintes en allant sélectionner sur des bases de données infinies des contenus que vous découvrez.

Comment utiliser la visioconférence ?

L’apprentissage ne consiste pas à voir en plein écran ses élèves. Imaginez un enseignant se trouvant à 50 centimètres de distance de chacun de ses élèves, respirant leur haleine, leur soufflant en pleine figure.

L’apprentissage c’est d’abord l’art de la distance, l’art de savoir utiliser à bon escient des supports pédagogiques et animer la discussion sur des sujets que l’on découvre, des points précis, des points qui font problème!

La particularité d’une leçon c’est qu’elle est donc inscrite dans une dynamique d’apprentissage. Il faut en savoir plus à la fin qu’au début. Nous allons d’un point a vers un point b. Il faut donc s’assurer que cette progression a bien lieu.

Deux éléments sont fondamentaux pour garantir la progression dans le temps court d’une leçon en ligne.

Tout d’abord, comme nous l’avons vu,  la leçon elle-même doit aller à l’essentiel, filtrer le superflu, avancer par bonds en laissant de côté les détails que chacun pourra approfondir hors ligne en consultant son manuel.

Ensuite l’évaluation tant individuelle que collective est essentielle. La classe en ligne ne peut pas se permettre de perdre des élèves en route, de laisser de côté ceux qui ne comprennent pas assez vite.

© Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

Comment faire participer les élèves en ligne?

Les fonctions de visio (et audio) conférence permettent bien à l’enseignant de parler et donner la parole. Mais la parole n’est utile que pour faciliter l’interaction au sein de la classe. C’est tout le pari du moment éducatif que nous traversons: ne pas tomber dans la facilité du parler pour ne rien dire mais insister sur “le faire et le partager”.

Imaginons “laisser le micro ouvert” pour chaque élève et laisser chacun réagir, s’interroger à voix haute à tout bout de champ. Le premier risque est que cette participation sans contrôle deviennent vite source de nuisances sonores. Combien de fois les enseignants ne se sont-ils plaints de ces classes bavardes! Le deuxième risque est de se voir déborder par les questions dans le temps réduit de la classe, rallongeant sans fin le cours. Le troisième risque est de voir se creuser encore les inégalités entre ceux capables de réagir instantanément et les autres.

Comment donc créer de la participation réelle, respectueuse et aussi silencieuse que possible?

Deux solutions s’ouvrent:

- pouvoir inclure la participation dans les activités à réaliser en classe: au lieu de dérouler un powerpoint, l’enseignant mise sur la capacité de l’élève à apporter des documents, trouver une vidéo, exprimer une idée. Il faut alors que l’enseignant dispose du moyen de partager la production de l’élève avec toute la classe.

- pouvoir “voir” les écrans des élèves en direct et intervenir tout de suite en cas de besoin pour ceux d’entre eux qui en ont besoin, quitte à les contacter ensuite personnellement par téléphone par exemple;

Dans la classe à distance, une fonction d’écrans partagés permettrait à l’enseignant de voir les écrans de tous les élèves (lui ou elle seule les verrait), d’interagir avec chaque élève depuis leur écran en toute discrétion, en toute “intimité”.

Autre possibilité innovante, le travail de groupe!

Le travail coopératif ou collaboratif – le travail en groupe – est d’abord affaire de tâches partagées, d’accomplir quelque chose ensemble, de résoudre des problèmes en faisant appel à l’intelligence collective.

Ces objectifs sont aussi difficiles ou aussi faciles à atteindre à distance que dans la salle de classes. Il existe des applications simples qui permettent de réunir les élèves, de leur assigner des tâches, de suivre leur travail. Bref, il existe des outils qui nous font travailler ensemble.

Une leçon d’humilité

On a coutume de mettre sur le compte de la technologie, tous les problèmes de la classe à distance. Les fameux bugs se multiplient, l’écran se noircit brutalement, la page perd sa configuration sur l’écran, ce qui marche sur un ordinateur ne marche pas sur une tablette, la connexion s’interrompt…

Et alors? Qui a dit que la technologie se substituait à l’enseignant ?

Tous les problèmes liés à la technologie ont des solutions. La classe à distance est d’abord une belle leçon d’humilité tant pour les enseignants que pour ceux qui se sont vus trop vite comme les magiciens du numérique.

The education crisis of the century

The health crisis is taking on an unprecedented scale, partly based on the progression of the epidemic, partly fueled by the virus of fear and death anxiety.

The economic crisis stems from containment, negative consumer expectations, shutdown of production chains, speculative movements in oil and other raw materials.

The financial crisis is fed by these crises; markets collapse in chains, gold becomes (again) the safe haven.

Nothing seems to be able to stop THE crisis!

But what if there was a more serious and more lasting one? The education crisis.

In 2019, according to the UN, nearly 260 million children did not go to school. Conflict areas are particularly affected: around 50% of out-of-school children of primary school age live in these areas.

Four days ago, Unesco listed 13 countries forced to close all their schools, affecting more than 290 million students. The arithmetic is simple: 260+290= 550 million children are out of school due to war or coronavirus and the number will increase. The right of children and young to education no matter who they are, regardless of race, gender or disability is a fundamental right of children (article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child).

The question posed by NGOs, often in vain, becomes – finally – topical: What to do to guarantee their right to education?

It is easy to imagine that the problem does not arise in the same way in Italy, in the UK or Syria or Iraq. On the one hand, organized, developed countries, on the other, countries devastated by wars. And yet in both cases, children on both sides are deprived of school. Some are “confined”, “locked up at home”, others are left to themselves, most often in the street. Inequality before school also exists for children without school. Better to be born French than Afghan.

How can we guarantee the educational continuity for all children? This question is at the heart of the statements of ministers of education in developed countries. This question is most often absent in countries at war and NGOs do their best to replace the failing political power.

What is said today in developed countries affected by the Coronavirus? All those in charge insist on the continuity of the educational activity.

The answer can of course only be digital! This is in any case the guarantee that is hastily given to parents and children. Digital workspaces, digital textbooks, remote conference tools will replace the “traditional” class.

Schools quickly inform parents of the solutions implemented. Here is an example from a french “lycée”;

- Regarding the absence during class, the teachers will use the e-mail and the school learning management system so that the child can continue to work at home.

- Concerning the absence to a school test, the teachers will be able to offer the child a written or oral question when he or she returns.

- Concerning the written exams: the teachers will be able, after the test will have taken place in the school, to send by e-mail the subject to the student.

These solutions seem rather poor. A week ago, we were talking of adaptive technologies, of deep learning, of artificial intelligence and we are back to emails!

But other questions arise: How do we really ensure the continuity of education when schools are closed, teachers poorly trained in the use of digital technology with poor internet infrastructure? What about personalized attention, interaction between students, social mix, educational innovation? Everywhere of course, the closure is presented as temporary. It will certainly be so even if the provisional is already part of a random temporality.

Paradoxically, here are the richest countries on the planet confronted with the questions that the poorest have been raising for decades. How to do without school? How to guarantee equality in school when the school is closed? How to reduce the digital divide, this invisible gap inscribed in the heart of the territories and which irreparably separates connected families from others? Back in 2017, a UN report found that 52% of the world’s population still has no access to the internet. There are so many figures to describe differently the inequality in front of the school which persists and worsens in the Coronavirus crisis!

The Coronavirus crisis is revealing in rich countries what NGOs are experiencing on a daily basis in the countries where they operate: the need to innovate.

Think of the NGO “Libraries without Borders” which brings its Ideas Box to refugee camps to allow children to read and write when schools have disappeared from their daily lives.

What is the ideas box that developed countries in turn need?

©Shutterstock Ververidis Vasilis

©Shutterstock Ververidis Vasilis

What if the Coronavirus crisis was an opportunity to rethink the role of digital in and out of school, to help teachers strengthen the social bond at the heart of their practice and commitment? Digital technology does not create innovation, it supports it by giving teachers, families and students shared responsibility for learning.

We thought that digital was a “plus”, “the icing on the cake”, a luxury item for learners of school age; in any case not an essential aspect of our pedagogies. Nothing was to replace physical presence. This myth is collapsing.

We can, we must know how to educate from a distance. Not by email or through Digital Workspaces, but by giving the educator a central place at the heart of digital solutions.

Nothing can replace the teacher – there are 69 million teachers missing by 2030 to ensure primary and secondary education for every child in the world – and digital innovation must do nothing but strengthen its very “presence” when he is physically absent.

Problem: teachers mostly restrict the use of digital solutions to their private communications and social life outside of school. Many immediately put digital out of their daily teaching lives. As for children, the abuse of digital leads to the same conclusions as those observed for young “dropouts”: aggression, anxiety, loneliness. According to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry and by a researcher from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2749480): « teens who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to report high levels of behaviors that may be indicators of mental health problems compared to adolescents who do not use social media at all. »

What should educational continuity look like when there is no school?

  • To a motivated, respected teacher who is capable of animating a distance course in an intuitive way by not reproducing the traditional model of the course “one against many” but of the course “each with everyone”;
  • To mobilized and united families pooling digital resources and educational attention;
  • To children who seize the chance to learn with others in an interactive way;
  • To an education system that accepts to assess differently;
  • To “Edtech” solutions that are designed by and with teacher to replicate an innovative educational experience, not a pale copy of a shared workspace specific to companies’ meetings.

Tomorrow when the Coronavirus crisis is over, educational practices will have evolved. We will know that we can do without school as we knew it. We will also know how to do it better with school. We will finally know why countries which have no schools are in dire need of our help.

A real reason to hope? Innovation is on our doorstep and innovators are ready.

 

The ten viruses of Coronavirus

My daughter Inés is a biology researcher at Imperial College.

Our weekly breakfast this morning in London was dedicated to…coronavirus. I asked her how we could get out of this collective hysteria. How we could rationally interpret what is happening from a scientific point of view.

On the one hand, there is a public health problem with a new virus that is highly transmissible by traditional means. We know how to predict and map epidemics. We know how to calculate morbidity. We don’t yet know how to stop this virus, which needs to be studied urgently.

Tens of thousands of vulnerable people, invisible victims of life, are dying worldwide. We seem powerless. But science needs time. A vaccine only develops after testing periods.

On the other hand, coronavirus may be much more harmful than what we are currently seeing. Beyond the lethal respiratory risk of a very dangerous and unknown disease, much more dangerous viruses may quickly jointly develop with our withdrawal from the social sphere.

the plague

The first virus is that of racism: Let’s avoid all contact with Chinese, Koreans, Iranians, Italians. As the number of infected patients grows, the virus of racism becomes global: let’s reject each other!

The second virus is fear: Mistrust and rejection of “the other” settle in the hearts of our families. Where were you yesterday? Who did you see? Due to social distancing and protection measures, we don’t kiss anymore, we don’t greet each other anymore. Will we ever again?

The third virus is that of denunciation: So-and-so coughed; so-and-so had a fever and said nothing; so-and-so have been seen walking outside . No matter the reason, you are (we are all) under scrutiny.

The fourth virus is that of withdrawal and abandon: I’m not risking helping others. We raid the supermarkets. Protective masks are being sold on the black market. We close the borders. Sad memory.

The fifth virus is that of the apocalypse: We are back in the days of the Black Death, the Spanish flu (which had nothing to do with Spain). We’re all going to die….it’s written in the Bible!

The sixth virus is that of conspiracy: The Chinese have spread coronavirus to better plunder the world’s wealth.

The seventh virus is that of greed: greed of stock markets and companies which, in a mix of speculative wave and legal fears, “take a position” or “take positions”; greed of the media and influencers who seek an audience at all costs.

The eighth virus is that of despair, of hopelessness, whereas barely an hour ago artificial intelligence promised us the wonders of transhumanism!

The ninth virus is that of ignorance, rumour and misinformation, which travels at the speed of light in a global world and sweeps away everything in its path, starting with intelligence.

The tenth and last (?) virus is inhumanity, which, in a few weeks, threatens to overthrow the most developed world humankind has ever known.

Are we facing a public health challenge or a social and educational catastrophe? Choose the virus you like best…or RESIST (and read/reread The Plague!).

The fly Thunberg and the elephant

A few days ago in Davos, President Trump invited us to be wary of these prophets of doom that herald the end of the world. A few weeks earlier, he had advised Greta Thunberg to relax and go to the movies. Interesting obsession as that of the king of the world for the smallest of his subjects! In 2016, Yuval Noah Harari used the parable of the fly and the elephant in connection with terrorism: “Small, weak, the fly is incapable of moving even a cup. So, it finds an elephant, enters his ear and buzzes until enraged, mad with fear and anger, the latter ransacks the store. ”

This is how, according to Harari, the Al-Qaeda fly led the American elephant to destroy the porcelain store in the Middle East. Will the Thunberg fly cause Trump and all climate skeptics to self-destruct or will it lead Trump and his friends to trash the planet?

 

all rights reserved - https://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/l-allegorie-de-la-mouche-et-de-l-219456

all rights reserved – https://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/l-allegorie-de-la-mouche-et-de-l-219456

It will certainly take a lot of little flies to enter the ears of all these leaders who strive to deny, minimize or disguise the impact of their policies on the climate. In this regard, it is interesting to put into perspective the role of young people in climate alert. The strikes of schoolchildren have shown the mobilization capacity and the concern of the young generations.

What should be the next step? The French Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, reminded at the launch of the Learning Planet initiative (UNESCO-CRI) that students should not be taught to fall into pessimism (unintentional convergence no doubt with the President Trump!) But, on the contrary, make young people actors of the environment and call them to action, in particular on biodiversity around their schools.

It definitely takes a lot of courage for all the Gretas in the world to think that one day they will be taken really seriously, as full-fledged citizens, capable not only of acting but of deciding instead of adults on what we must do to protect the planet and not just the school garden.

The participation of young people in climate action is not an educational issue which will be resolved by decisions worthy of the manual of the Junior Woodchucks. It is a political subject which calls into question the balance of powers and the manner of exercising it and therefore requires political decisions.

 

 

Can we still educate for the world as it is?

Recently a controversy opposed environmental NGOs and the BNP Paribas bank regarding the bank’s investment into fossil energies. The CSR director tried to close the controversy by explaining: “we finance the world as it is.”

If we do so, then how can we reasonably expect to change it? The same could be asked for education: are we educating children to live in the world as it is in the same way we (the banks) are financing the world as it is? in other words, can we still educate for the world as it is?

This question resonates with the latest actions undertaken by young people all over the world against climate change or feminicides. Aren’t young people claiming for being educated / financing a world as they want them to be?

(all rights reserved)

(all rights reserved)

Our incapacity to listen to them is certainly deeply rooted in the practices of BNP Paribas and all other banking and political institutions, i.e. using people’s deposits and votes to finance the world as it is.

Martha Nussbaum once said (Cultivating Humanity, 1998) that “we produce all too many citizens whose imaginations never step out of the counting house”. How do we step out? According to Nussbaum, we need Socratic citizens who are capable of thinking for themselves and arguing with tradition. It goes back to key questions raised by Margaret Mead back in 1969 (Culture and Commitment): Can I commit my life to anything? Is there anything in human cultures as they exist today worth saving, worth committing myself to?

In their Capability approach theory, Sen and Nussbaum stated that freedom to achieve well-being is a matter of what people are able to do and to be. Young people think the same. In a recent poll a 51 percent of Americans ages 18-29 said their generation can change the world. The same result was registered in France.

This is certainly a good moment to listen more carefully to what young people say and more importantly do (or can do).  One of the key principles of child participation, elaborated by Roger Hart, was that the highest level of child participation (*) should be “Child initiated, Shared Decisions with Adults (Children’s Participation, 1997). This is what Greta Thunberg and her friends worldwide are claiming for.

(* At this level of participation, banks shouldn’t be authorized any longer to finance the world as it is…)

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