Inspiring Portrait: Huguette Dupont, the Woman with the ICT Profile Tattooed on Her Heart!
As part of our Inspiring Portraits series, we present Huguette Dupont, an organized, rallying and involved pedagogical advisor. Amidst the great news that was released recently about the ICT Profile, we wanted to feature this busy bee!
Professional Background and ICTs
Huguette fell in love with technology at the secondary level, when she created her first computer application with LogoWriter. She got her first personal computer as a trade-off for a data entry contract for a Bantam hockey tournament. She then registered for a diploma of college studies in computer science at Cégep de Granby, followed by a bachelor’s degree in IT management at Université de Sherbrooke. She became an intern at Nortel, where she would later be hired for a position related to web development and customer service. She climbed the company’s ladder to become a project manager, and then a team leader. A maternity leave, combined with the “collapse” of the company, encouraged her to reflect on her personal interests and on the future of her career. After this period of reflection, she came to a conclusion: “I am passionate about IT, but working in this field is not my ultimate purpose.”
With a smirk, she adds that she admires teachers so much that she married a French teacher! She claims to be in love both with the French language and with her man. Taking this metaphor a step further, she explains that it is the unique “marriage” between technology, pedagogy and French that sparked her passion for techno-pedagogy.
Career Path: How the Sun Came Out!
With her spouse, Huguette worked on developing the prototype of a technological tool to learn French (grammar, more specifically) named Le FrancoLinguiste. The project was not completed due to a lack of funds. She then became self-employed as a consultant and instructor in the field of IT. This experience got her closer to the college environment. In 2004, she became a teacher at Cégep de Granby’s Continuing Education Department, more specifically in the office systems and computer science sectors.
One day, she saw a posting for an ICT pedagogical advisor. While reading the description, she told herself (verbatim): “Now that’s sunshine! This position is screaming my name!” Support and techno-pedagogy, those were 2 catalyzer words for Huguette. She had discovered her calling, the mission she was destined for: education! Her purpose was to support teachers and to make them happy and autonomous in their projects. That, she says, is her paycheck in and of itself.
Huguette tells us that she loved school when she was a student: “Learning and getting my brain cells to work was a drug for me. Missing a day of class was basically torture. When I am in a school, I get good vibrations!”
To complete her pedagogical training, Huguette followed classes at Performa in which she was particularly interested in supporting teams in transition. She also followed seminars and activities by tutoring on the integration of ICTs in teaching and on managing programs of studies.
The question is no longer ‘do we have to’, but rather ‘how do we’ integrate technology in our pedagogical practice?
Huguette celebrates her 12th anniversary as a pedagogical advisor. She gauges the evolution of the use of technology in the classroom with the arrival of new generations of students and teachers:
Before, teachers who integrated ICTs in their classes were pioneers, special cases, outcasts… now, ICTs are available to everyone who wants to take a step forward, no matter how big. We feel that there are less barriers and teachers can now access more resources in the network.
Towards a concerted approach
“Before”, Huguette tells us, “my actions had more of an individual scope. Today, I try to mobilize all the stakeholders and to use a more concerted approach. The school’s administration shares this vision.” As an example, she mentions the integration of the ICT Profile in her college and the institutional development of ICTs. She created an ICT committee, which contributed to the elaboration of the institutional ICT plan. Each year, the committee defines a list of items to work on and progresses in sub-committees.
When it comes to the integration of the ICT Profile, her reasoning finds its bases in the existing practices of the faculty members and on the program-based approach. “This is how our leading team of pedagogical development was able to create opportunities for collaboration. As a pedagogical advisor for the development of programs, my interventions are becoming more and more coherent with learning strategies, the nature of the programs themselves and the realities of the workplace and of universities.”
What characterizes Huguette in her projects?
Her enthusiasm, her dynamism, her rallying voice (1+1=11), her participative leadership. Nicole also adds: her great intelligence, her ability to see the forest as well as the trees, to bring ideas together, her organization and her “hoarder” habits with respect to documents!!
A strength that distinguishes her?
Her ability to adapt to change. She sees herself as an agent of change.
Nicole adds: her perseverance to get to the end of projects and her pedagogical skills: she is an amazing communicator.
A typical day for her?
One word: free electron! She loves a project-based approach.
An inspiration for her in her practice?
Teachers who innovate, try things out and share their experience. This is a great motivation for her as well.
Her way to recharge her creative batteries?
- The workshops at the AQPC Symposium, the Real Life Stories published by Profweb, the activities organized by the CAPRES (Consortium d’animation sur la persévérance et la réussite en enseignement supérieur, Mobilization Consortium for Perseverance and Success in Higher Education).
- Nicole adds: “I think that all the REPTIC meetings and a glass of chocolate milk also inspire her very much!”
- Her family, and most definitely her daughter (the apple of her eye), helps her focus on the “real things in life”.
- A native of Sept-Îles with Acadian roots, she draws her energy and balance from her contact with whales and the sea.
- For a little over a year, physical activity has become particularly important in her life. She swims, does pilates/stretching, muscle-building and cardioboxing. Of course, she uses tons of applications and gadgets to motivate herself and measure her improvements!
What she wants to preserve:
Let us use this quotation from Hemingway, which summarizes her thoughts very well:
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.