Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New educational technologies in turmoil – Les Echos

The plan for the digital school supported by the Elysée will be achieved through a series of tenders for the new learning resources. An ad that also supports the reform of colleges confirmed by the Ministry of Education last week.

Start up, educational publishers, tablet manufacturers: in recent weeks, the small world of “edtech” – understand the technologies applied to education – is boiling. With his plan for the digital school, the government has announced the publication in September of tenders for the production of “educational resources”. “It must have everything ready for September 2016″ , insisted Francois Hollande on May 7 With a budget of one billion euros over three years, one third financed by future investments and € 650 million in equity, numerically at school will also support the reform of colleges due to come into force in September 2016.

To the highly disputed reform of college music, the government plans to offer books and digital resources for the 5 th 4 th and 3 th in five disciplines: French, math, history and geography, modern languages ​​and sciences. “term to imagine a sort of Wikipedia of education, where all teachers could help” , enthuses the entourage of President of the Republic, very invested in this folder. For this tender, “no dogma: the idea is to create a healthy competition and cooperation between actors, traditional publishers, start-ups and innovative teachers” , says a consultant. The Ministry of Education will be the prime contractor and the tender will insist on “simplicity” and “usability” of resources.

Clash of generations

The attention to educational content, as well as the equipment is good news, says Thierry for his share of Vulpillières, director of educational partnerships at Microsoft: “But this call remains a drop compared to the 300 million allocated annually to paper manuals. And how to ensure that this budget will not go to public actors such as Canopy networks – CNDP ex – or CNED, that can also apply? “ Behind this tender plays a war between ancient and modern: the large publishing houses and public operators face new actors appeared with the Internet. Digischool, MyBlee, Openclassrooms, Lelivrescolaire.fr are among the newcomers who want to shake up the market of educational resources. Laetitia Grail, a former teacher and founder in 2011 of MyBlee Maths, a platform that teaches math to 5-12 years from custom algorithms, intends APPLY. “We’re in our third fundraising and I’m trying to create a European investment fund dedicated to e-education: this plan will give a real boost to the edtech sector” says she.

Funding in question

Meanwhile, if the State finances the resources, the purchase of computers remains mainly at the expense of communities. The plan provides for the connection and equipment 300 colleges in September 2015. The government had initially proposed a single market imposing the choice of equipment to the Departments. The option finally chosen is that of a call for proposals from interested communities, the state funding 50% of the expenditure. “For three years, successful schools receive an annual allocation of € 30 per student per teacher [...] the implementation of the capital project qualifies for an exceptional grant on the basis of a fixed ceiling 380 euros per student per teacher “ says a ministerial circular which we have had copy. The Assembly of France is more circumspect: “30 euros per student, it is not 50% of the expense! In addition to the hardware, you need software financing and maintenance, old about tension with the state. “

The calendar is also criticized: the call for proposals was issued in March, ” a week before the departmental elections “. Besides some departments, like Corrèze or the Bouches-du-Rhône, have already equipped their colleges. The General Council of the Landes was one of the first in 2001 to endow his college notebook. Eight years later, a TNS-Sofres survey pointed to the weak evolution of classroom practice. We bet that this new plan, which builds on the content and training as well as on equipment, will move teaching practices.

Marie-Caroline Missir

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