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The use of digital technologies in secondary school

The writing practices of secondary school students in the context of mediated communication, at school and at home: a useful environment for building writing skills?

This research began by exploring the writing practices of secondary school students, within and outside of the school setting, as well as the use of electronic media by their teachers.

We then collaboratively built and implemented learning and evaluation situations (LES) involving Web 2.0 environments in order to bring the teaching and learning contexts proposed by teachers more in line with the social practices of youth.

Young people strongly prefer the use of Facebook and “chat rooms” as virtual communication environments.

Our student survey shows that young people strongly prefer the use of Facebook and “chat rooms” as virtual communication environments. Very few students use Twitter, at least not before the end of Secondary Cycle 2, as most of them do not have a cell phone, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. The same applies to blogging and following blogs.

Outside of school, adults and youth show similar profiles for digital technology (DT) use, with a focus on entertainment, access to general information and quick communication with friends.

Finally, while using LES in a virtual context may interest or motivate students, several factors affect their effectiveness to support learning. Familiarity of the teaching staff with the technologies in question and whether their use is imposed (as is the case in some private institutions) or is a personal initiative on the part of the teacher often makes the difference between a shift towards a truly collaborative learning activity and a reproduction of more conventional educational intervention models. In any case, the evaluative dimension is given secondary importance.

 

Main researcher: François Larose, Université de Sherbrooke

Original title: Étude des représentations et des pratiques de recours aux technologies numériques chez des élèves et des enseignants québécois du secondaire ainsi que de leurs impacts sur l’apprentissage de l’écriture

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