L’éducation numérique débranchée dans le canton de Vaud

Digital education is one of the main points on the legislative programme of the Conseil d’État and is also one of the priorities of the Department of Education, Young People and Culture. Well done! It is one of the key elements children will need, not only to progress in their work environment, but also to learn how to think, and then learn how to criticise. The sorting machine. One, two, three, sort! If they step into a blue circle, there have to be two of them, so they have to wait and then they compare their cards. If I’m the smaller one, I follow the arrow with the dotted line – at their age, left and right aren’t yet completely clear – so we decided to go with dotted lines and solid lines. If I’m the bigger one, I follow the solid line. It’s magical when the children realise that the cards are all in order, from smallest to biggest or lightest to darkest and that’s the magic of the sorting machine, which will gradually help them, I hope, to realise what’s happening inside a computer, at least that’s what we’re trying to get them to understand. The dots, they make a line, and then it sorts. But if you get it wrong, it doesn’t sort properly. From smallest to biggest, from lightest to darkest, it can sort anything! The skills they’re learning here are both motor skills, and other skills, it’s about multidisciplinarity, and also collaborative skills, and then they all have to get it right. So if one of them goes wrong, the whole team gets the wrong answer. And those are all skills they need, you can’t wait until they’re 15 or 16 because they’re going to need them throughout their lives. The crane game is a game where the children have a starting situation and an end situation and they work in pairs, and facing them there’s a crane they have to give very clear instructions to, so they agree on the language, so for example, lift, move, move, put down. Move, put down. And there you are! And the idea is that the cubes are in the right position at the end. Move, put down. That’s it, OK! Not all the children, some of them just see it as a game, the magical part but some of them have already understood just how precise the language has to be to get what you want. Is it your turn now? It’s about algorithms, giving instructions, using accurate, concise language that works. There you go! Pixel screen is a game, as the name implies, where they learn what a pixel is. We don’t call it that with such young pupils, but that’s what it is. So it’s how I code an image using different coloured counters, for example, or with words and writing. They’re really participatory because it’s a game and there’s something magical in the process of working out the code to guess something that’s hidden and that the other person can replicate. We’re on the second line! What’s hidden in terms of computer science, computer vocabulary if you like, they’ll learn about that later on. Here, it’s about experimenting through play, with all kinds of language, all kinds of different coding. The sooner they understand a little bit about what’s hidden behind, the sooner they’ll be able to use these tools critically. So, the teachers get a four-day course this year, with some deliberately quite long sessions between two courses to give them the chance to experiment. Because the advantage of being a pilot, is that you can experiment and give feedback afterwards on what you tried. I’ve been teaching for so many years, and after a while, you want to look at something new too, explore something new, and above all keep up with the times, and digital technology is the future. It’s quite moving, because you can see that now in classrooms, it’s something very practical, that digital education is coming in especially for very young children, and it’s essential for the skills they’ll need in the 21st century. Help! Help? Look, it’s the J. No, wait, I can’t look.

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