Google at school: “The educational potential of Internet tools is immense”

France must open its education system to the realities of the digital world, an approach that can bring about a lasting and positive change in the daily lives of teachers and students, particularly in high school. It is not just a matter of orienting them towards a good use of the Internet and digital tools, but of going further, of integrating these tools into the way of teaching, of creating this new pedagogy that Michel Serres he has repeatedly asked for her wishes. In this perspective, one can conceive of an evolution of the master’s course towards a two-step formula, derived from the model designed decades ago already in the business schools Americans.

Its principle is based on the previous involvement of the students in the subject matter, so that the same course becomes a moment of ordering and synthesis of what the students have acquired by themselves. The classic pattern of the direct transmission of new knowledge by the teacher is then erased in part in favor of greater participation of each student. There is for them a progressive and stimulating appropriation of knowledge, and for the teacher, a profoundly new and rewarding experience.

The example of the Economics course

Not all subjects – and in particular the exact sciences – are not susceptible to the application of this method, which concerns rather fields such as Philosophy, Literature, History or Economics. Its pedagogical potential can be highlighted from an example, the simulation of an Economics course at the institute. At some point, the teacher of this subject informs his students that the next lesson will focus on a topical issue, such as the financing of a start-up, the activity of investment funds or the ECB action.

Several groups of five or six students are formed, and it is up to them to start, together at their own pace, a research project on the subject. They are asked to do these searches on Google, in French and, for those who can, in English. These groups will have to appoint spokespersons, in charge of exposing to the whole class the approaches of the subject that have marked them the most, as well as the names of the places affected.

Some of the students’ findings could be particularly interesting, such as the refusal of banks to finance start-ups, the role of funds for money laundering or the ECB’s role in money creation. One can imagine the work of preparation and animation of the teacher, in charge of evaluating the findings of his students, to make them observe the convergences and divergences of points of view, to make them reflect on the importance of the sources and the authors. of the profile. We can also imagine the new motivation of students to discover the unexpected richness of the Internet and the relativity of knowledge.

The Internet, an egalitarian tool

Many critics denounce, it is true, the addiction of young people on social media and the widespread abandonment of reading. We must see, however, in counterpoint the immense educational potential of the tools of the Web, from Google in particular.

Thus, for the first time in the history of the world, all human knowledge is made available to the greatest number. Culture, know-how, works of art, learning tools are accessible everywhere, anytime, for free or almost free of charge, making the Internet a potentially significant contributor to reducing inequalities. It is up to our teachers to train the new generations in the rational use of digital tools, a mission of civilization, one might say.

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Alain Lemasson, former banker and founder of infofi2000.com

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