Computers first appeared in schools and centres more than 30 years ago, slowly changing the way we interact with students and perform our school functions.
Renée Dufour1 is categorical: change is never easy. “Remember when overhead projectors were first introduced? The resistance they met with and the problems we experienced? It’s even harder when technology is imposed quickly without consulting workers nor providing sufficient technical resources, as was the case with interactive white boards.”
According to Renée Dufour, although digital tools have the potential to improve our work, they can – and should – be integrated in a more harmonious manner.
“We need the right conditions: proper training, enough time to take ownership during work hours, ensuring adequate follow-up, and mostly, respect for the professional autonomy of workers in their choice of tools and their level of use,” says the education consultant.
Both sides of the equation
Regardless of their sector of activity, the conditions of practice for CSQ members are affected by the introduction of digital technologies that impact, notably, the work and management tools used in their places of work, as well as the physical, time, or geographic organization of their work (virtual classroom, distance education, collaborative network practices, telecommuting, etc.).
Although digital technologies offer new possibilities and help save time, they can also result in added tasks or control measures, and require significant investments in time.
We often hear how software and learning applications can make following up and providing more personalized feedback in the classroom easier. In the same vein, social media and telecommunications can improve collaboration and self-help in learning and practice communities, and management tools can allow for sharing and treating information more effectively. But how well does this work in real life?
A large CSQ research project
Between the promises and concerns, what are the realities experienced by education personnel? To answer this question, the CSQ, in collaboration with its school and higher education federations, has embarked on a large digital technology research project on new technologies.
During the coming weeks, members of the CSQ – teachers, professional and support personnel – will be invited by their unions to contribute to the project by answering a questionnaire that will help identify their concerns and the types of problems they encounter. Afterwards, small discussion groups consisting of members from various categories of employment will embark on more in-depth discussions about the daily realities of new technologies in the workplace.
1 Renée Dufour is president of the Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels de la Haute Côte-Nord (CSQ) and member of the Réseau pour le développement des compétences des élèves par l’intégration des technologies (RÉCIT).