March 5, 2018

Digital Quebec, Moving Towards a Social Plan?

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

In December of 2017, the Quebec government unveiled its digital strategy [in French]. This strategy was developed with citizens, experts, enterprises and organisations from different horizons thanks to a collaborative platform. The results [in French] of this consultation present the concerns, needs, thoughts and ideas, in particular of the higher education stakeholders.

In December 2016, Profweb tabled a document [in French] that set out its stance, presented 3 resolutions for the upcoming years and expressed 6 wishes for the development and efficient integration of digital technologies for learning and teaching in higher education.

  1. That the will to learn be the driving force that fuels a desire to discover, innovate, and learn more, and this, throughout life.
  2. That the digital strategy enables the MEES (ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur)to develop a vision that allows organisations, associations and other key college network stakeholders to carry out or update their mission to the benefit of the colleges.
  3. That the colleges develop a genuine culture of innovation that takes into account the diversity of interests of both teachers and pedagogical advisors as well as the diversity of learner styles.
  4. That teachers be provided with the organisational and pedagogical conditions that foster a successful integration of digital technologies.
  5. That students have access to digital educational resources in class and in other locations conductive to learning such as libraries.
  6. That Profweb may contribute to the implementation of the digital orientations in higher education through close cooperation and synergy with its partners and collaborators.

The MESI (ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation) also worked with several other ministries to define the strategy’s objectives and aims.  Action plans will arise from this strategy.  The ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur recently announced that the action plan for the education sector was scheduled for the spring of 2018.

Québec’s Digital Strategy: a Society Project (Source: MESI, in French) [translation]

Digital technology is introducing a new way to see the world, a new way of thinking, of being informed, of communicating, of doing business, of working as well as introducing a new rapport with learning and culture. It relates to a way of living differently that permeates all aspects of our lives and on a worldwide scale. [Translation] Drawn from Quebec’s digital strategy [in French]

One of the major aims of the strategy is for Quebec to rank among the leaders of the OECD in the next 5 years. One of the indicators will be the proportion of Quebec students using digital tools frequently. This also means that adults (especially teachers) will have to develop the skills required by an increasingly digital environment.

The second guideline of the strategy deals with the contribution of technologies and digital resources to teaching and learning. It is said “Quebec cannot progress without all of its citizens developing the digital skills that will allow them to evolve autonomously in a modern and innovative society.” [Translation] The education system plays a role, and will be called upon to play a major role, in the development of digital skills for young people as well as for the population in general.

The ICT profile for college students, developed by the ITREPs Network (IT respondents for the colleges) includes skills related to research, to the processing and presentation of information. Added to this are 2 skills that encourage students to work in a network and use ICTs in an efficient and responsible manner. All of these skills have become essential whether it is to pursue college or university studies or to meet the needs of the workplace.

In the digital strategy, we are reminded of certain advantages related to the use of digital technologies: foster commitment; develop autonomy through learning and schooling. Also highlighted was the importance of “having a realistic, nuanced and balanced understanding of the risks and benefits of digital technologies in order to adequately assess the relation between these two opposites.”

To be continued…

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