Le Monde | • Updated | Interview
This work interested Lancaster University, UK, who is authorized to undertake a thesis in computer science, although he admits ” bit stalled in this matter and do not speak English from “. Appointed teacher-researcher on training technologies at the University of Geneva, he became interested in 1995 in online education.
He joined the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in 2002 . There are two pilot entities: the Centre for education in the Digital age, which produces online courses open to all ( online open massive racing , or MOOC), and the Computer-Human interaction in Learning and Instruction (Chile) Lab, where researchers in education, artificial intelligence, statistics, enhanced vision and robotics are developing innovative educational technologies. “I put myself in the uncomfortable position regularly to address areas that I want to apply to education, but where I am incompetent” he commented. Cross is his watchword.
EPFL has been one of Europe’s leading educational institutions to engage in the MOOC. What conclusions do you draw?
We decided, in 2012, we launch fully into the MOOC as an adventure. In our studio, the first professors concerned recorded video sequences in seven minutes, imagined online exercises and prepared forums.
Since 2013, we produced 49 MOOC, which attracted 1.35 million registered, one of the European records. It’s an experiment conducted with teachers that takes us a long time. With setbacks and surprises, as the huge success, including among students at MIT in Boston, the MOOC Professor Martin Odersky on Scala programming language, which he is the father.
overall, just under 10% of users go after our MOOC. This low percentage is a side effect of the fact that it registered in a few clicks. At the outset, 40% of people realize they have erred: the subject is not the one they wanted to learn, it is too abstract or too concrete, etc.
Next. a third of registered in a MOOC just want to take one or two chapters to revise, supplement their knowledge, or because, as teachers, they come looking for new ideas and examples. Others drop out because they are difficult polytechnic courses, at five hours per week for seven weeks.
What is your view on this educational tool?
We never thought the MOOC would solve all the problems of education: in this area, there is no recipe. These are educational tools among others. Called MOOC wide variety of objects, light teachings close to a documentary of heavy math.
At EPFL, the MOOC does not replace the teacher but gives him the opportunity test new forms of education. It also notes that, when a MOOC and a book of the same professor on a subject, consultation of his book increases! Before an exam, the student does not remake the MOOC but prefers flick.
In your lab, working on other innovative pedagogies. What are they
We are currently experiencing the learning geometry on sheets of paper: an augmented reality system allows to get information on the sheets of paper that is handled <. / p>
We also use robots to children who have difficulty writing and are in school failure. It is the child learning to write small humanoid, he corrects it again and again and progresses, feeling valued. Is produced prototypes were tested in primary schools, it is analyzed, we improve. The more general idea is to learn by teaching. When one must prepare a buddy to take an exam, you learn more than if we worked alone
Another experiment is to measure in real time level of attention of students by filming in the classroom with two cameras. All teachers lose at some point the attention of their audience. Some realize this and react. For example they change the tempo of their voice or mention the subject will be at the next inspection program
Some do not realize they have lost students’ attention because they only look at those in the front row, after well. And, therefore, we can consider sending an alert to the professor on his smartphone to say that he has more than 10% of students pay attention to its course.
will digital penetrate more and more the world of education?
How could it be otherwise? It penetrates all sectors of society. But classroom management is not easy, and it should not be that new technology weigh down the work of the teacher. It should also allow the institution time to digest. When the pens appeared at school, we confiscated them; Then, calculators; and now mobile phones. But the movement is inevitable. It’s a slow evolution: there is no revolution in education. And the teacher, the class will not go away.
Does the school or university should become places where learning to learn?
in ten years, knowledge has made considerable advances, but the period of study has not changed. The students must learn in part by themselves. But in science, the imperative is to acquire current mathematical foundation to survive whatever the new algorithm which will be released in three years.
Which board of guidance would you give to a 16 or 17 who hesitate on the path to choose?
in Switzerland there are a very robust system professional learning alternating between course work and business. Swiss Finance Minister and the president of the largest bank of the country followed an apprenticeship at age 16! If a young person like concrete, I would advise him to be a carpenter for example. What a beautiful art, practiced by passionate people!
If you love math, I would advise him artificial intelligence and machine learning methods that are upsetting all sciences. At the same time, it must be a little acyclic. If everyone rushes to certain occupations, it is good to look elsewhere.
In all, no need to make plans. We must seize the opportunities that arise and that we like, then invest maximum energy. Jacques Brel said: “The only real talent is envy. “ Where does this feel like? This is a beautiful question. Being talented on the run is not enough. What makes some will train 20 kilometers a day for years to achieve a good marathon time? Why did they, more than others, a desire that burns in them? Mystery.