February 18, 2013

A Focus on Learning Technology and the Technology of Learning

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

Information Technology – An Essential Skill

For quite a number of years, technology has become so important that the skills required to use it correctly have become essential for higher learning, the job market and everyday existence. Technologies have therefore become objects of study. And, to respond to this new reality, the IT Representatives’ Network designed the ICT Profile for College Students which describes a set of information and communication technology skills that students in the twenty-first century must master as part of their education. Also for this reason, a team of IT Reps is currently developing a student code of ethics in virtual communication.

Information Technology – An Academic Tool

But that’s not the end of the story! Technologies are also becoming indispensable as support for the acquisition of learning: for example to communicate with students by e-mail or any other means of virtual communication, to do research using digital encyclopedias or online catalogs, to use multimedia as source material for a presentation, to develop formative online tests or exercises, to use clickers to determine student opinions, to experiment with pedagogical uses for tablets or to develop an active learning activity in a classroom dedicated to that approach. All teachers are now using technology, but of course, to varying degrees. Interestingly, research tends to show that the use of ICT in the classroom can improve student success, in so far as it is done under the conditions that promote its integration. This information is the fruit of a study by Christian Barrette realized for ARC (Association pour la recherche au collégial).

Pertinent Questions

These findings, however, engender a lot of questions. Here are a few examples:

  • How can teachers contribute to developing their students’ information and communication technology skills?
  • How many of these skills must teachers master themselves?
  • How may the use of ICT in the classroom contribute to student success and how can this result be encouraged?
  • What are the conditions that foster the successful integration of ICT?
  • What resources are available to college teachers to develop ICT activities in the classroom? What obstacles do they encounter?
  • How does one evaluate the effect of using ICT in the classroom on student success?

There are three Edtech Weeks on the horizon at Dawson College, Cégep John Abbott College and at Vanier College where these issues and many others will be discussed at length. These and other questions will also be the subject of a round table being held in French at the next AQPC conference with four panelists. Participants in all of these events will be invited to contribute their views.

An Invitation

I invite you now to not only share your opinions with your colleagues at all of these events, but to share your comments and your questions in the section just below this text.

I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say, and possibly to meeting you at one of the EdTech weeks or the AQPC Symposium, all of which are being held in Montreal!

About the author

Nicole Perreault

She began her college career as a Psychology Teacher and Education Advisor at Collège André-Grasset. She was then the Director of APOP and the CLIC newsletter before becoming an Education Advisor at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit. Since 2005, she is pleased to be the Community Manager for the Réseau des REPTIC (IT Representatives Network) which brings together ICT Education Advisors from across the college network. She has written numerous articles and given many workshops on the pedagogical use of technology. Their integration within the context of student success is a subject that she finds particularly interesting.

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