Back in June, Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French Minister for Education, Youth and Sport, launched a consultation in preparation for the General Assemblies on the use of Digital Technology in Education, which are set to be held on 4 and 5 November 2020 in Poitiers.
With the health crisis highlighting the biggest problems facing the sector (the digital divide, a lack of resources for teachers, digital ethics, etc.), the aim was to give a platform to everyone affected by the issue of digital transformation in education, allowing them to express their expectations, suggest new practices or innovations, or simply share their experiences.
Seven proposals to meet the biggest challenges surrounding the use of digital technology in education
In response to this call for contributions, Inria published seven proposals for the digital transformation of education on the event’s participative platform :
- Develop research projects in the digital sciences aimed at boosting academic attainment
- Develop rigorous methodologies for evaluating digital technology in education
- Expand training in digital technology for teachers
- Move towards a “People’s University for Digital Technology” for educating the general public on the subject
- Create the right conditions for developing and updating digital and educational resources as common assets
- Ensure the transferability of personal educational data and to develop the interoperability of software solutions
- Create an EdTech observatory
Although some of these proposals may have a broader scope, others are targeted more specifically at stakeholders in the education sector, whether teachers, decision-makers, the media, EdTech companies or families.
A white paper to support a more comprehensive examination of the subject
All of these proposals are taken from the recommendations for the digital transformation of education outlined by the institute in the white paper “Education and Digital Technology : The Challenges”, which is set for its official launch in late November 2020.
Work first began on this 80-page document in mid-2019, and it is divided into five sections: assessing the impact of digital technology on the education sector; identifying the challenges facing the sector; presenting research subjects linked to the use of digital technology in education; analysing the challenges facing the sector in France; and outlining seven recommendations for the digital transformation of education.
Digital technology in education: a key focus for Inria
This initiative is very much in keeping with the institute’s desire to strengthen its position on the key societal issue of education through digital technology and education in digital technology. As a public body dealing with research into digital science and technology, Inria has been engaged with the issue of the digital transformation of education for years, through a range of actions linked to education in digital technology: MOOCs dedicated to educating teachers about digital technology (SNT, ICN, etc.), outreach initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between digital science and the wider public, and the deployment of successful projects (such as Class’Code or “1 scientist, one class: No problem! ”). This is not to mention the multiple Inria project teams that have engaged with the subject, most notably Flowers, a joint undertaking with the ENSTA.
A strategic commitment to promoting digital sovereignty in France
These actions and projects echo some of the targets outlined in Inria’s performance agreement, particularly the scientific component linked to lifelong learning, and the outreach component, strengthening ties with the national educational authorities in France. More broadly, Inria’s engagement in this area is geared towards protecting France’s digital sovereignty.