You are asking yourself no end of questions about the educational applications of computers or information technologies (IT), and suspect that others are buckling under a similar avalanche of questions. To help answer some of them, this year a team from CÉGEP de Lévis-Lauzon is embarking on a research project on the Web Knowledge Forum® (Web KF). Similarly, a Heritage College teacher and a Université du Québec en Outaouais professor are attempting to answer the following question: what information literacy skills do Heritage College students have? At Dawson College, a research team is focusing on issues related to use of the learning environment known as Connected Science. Another team from CÉGEP de Saint-Laurent is examining cognitive and metacognitive strategies adopted in problem-solving situations presented in a wiki. Elsewhere, a multidisciplinary team conducts experiments within Cégep@distance courses. A team at Jean-de-Brébeuf College is attempting to answer questions about text correction software and virtual reference tools. Lastly, a research team with members from Dawson, John-Abbott and Vanier colleges is carrying out a project to answer the following question: in learning, is progress the same when teaching/learning methods associated with sociotechnology are used as when methods associated with traditional teaching are used? The questions asked within the scope of projects like these may be separate from one another, but they have one thing in common.
Among the projects that researchers are working on are :
- Information seeking behavior: students’ and teachers’ perceptions at Heritage College.
- Learners, not Lurkers: Connecting Conceptual and Social Networks in Science Education.
- L’apprentissage de la littérature au collégial assisté par une technologie de réseau : un potentiel de métacognition, de créativité et d’approfondissement dans une communauté en émergence (Learning literature at college with the assistance of network technology: potential for metacognition,creativity and in-depth study in an emerging community).
- Analyse de l’utilisation d’un wiki dans les stratégies cognitives et métacognitives des élèves en soins infirmiers. (Analysis of wiki use in nursing students’ cognitive and metacognitive strategies).
- Logiciels sociaux, collaboration and persévérance en FAD (Social software, collaboration and perseverance in distance education).
- Outils virtuels et qualité de la langue (Virtual tools and language quality).
What these projects have in common is that they are funded by the Programme d’aide à la recherche sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage (PAREA). For the current year, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) du Québec is providing financial assistance to 17 projects under PAREA, including eight dealing with the educational applications of computers or IT. Would you like to consult reports or science popularization articles published following completion of projects funded this way? The collection housed at the College Documentation Centre (CDC) includes all of them, without exception. Would you like to obtain information on PAREA? Tuesday, October 26, from 9 am to 12 noon, the Association pour la recherche collégiale (ARC) will hold an English online information session on PAREA. Take note: the deadline for submitting an application for the 2011-2012 academic year is January 28, 2011! Don’t put it off; take advantage of the resources placed at your disposal right now.
Since its creation, the college network has been so active in researching the educational applications of computers or IT that ARC was able to conduct metaresearch projects on the subject (Barbeau, 2007; Barrette, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008). As a result, more and more is known about the pedagogical, technical and organizational conditions that must be put in place in order for IT integration to have positive impacts on academic results. Even so, we are still most definitely far from knowing all there is to know. That is why PAREA, which can release teachers from their duties to study an issue in great detail, is as relevant now as ever. If you have a project in mind, if you have questions, or if you want to form a team that will focus on a specific topic, then visit the ARC website right now and sign up for the information session on October 26 and send out feelers below to find out if other people are asking the same questions as you!