Five good reasons for moving to the digital classroom

September is back-to-school time for more than 12 million students in France, heading off for another year’s learning. With the ongoing health crisis and the experience of lockdown and home-learning last spring, this new school year ushers in the prospect of a new era of education. As the French Ministry of Education considers introducing new approaches that blend face-to-face learning with online learning for certain subjects, there’s no better time to underscore the need to shift towards the digital classroom and the indisputable benefits that would ensue.

Reason #1 Technology is crucial to online schooling.

The coronavirus outbreak earlier this year forced a complete rethink about online learning. Suddenly confined to home, students faced the daunting challenge of following classes online. For most, this meant waiting their turn to use the family desktop, laptop or tablet, competing with siblings and parents also required to work from home. Others had to rely on their smartphones, often the sole way of benefitting from continuity of learning. Teachers, meanwhile, lacked the training required to effectively teach remotely. As our knowledge and understanding of the coronavirus remains limited and fears of a second wave grow, we must learn from the lockdown experience. This means providing individual devices (laptops or tablets) for all school students and training teachers to use digital education tools.

Reason #2 Digital technology facilitates access to education for all children.

The digital transformation of schools presents opportunities for a more inclusive education. Education technology makes education available to all students. It often goes unnoticed, but in France there are more than 350,000 children with disabilities in the education system, and for many of them it’s an uphill struggle. In addition, disorders such as dyslexia, dysphasia and dyscalculia affect one in ten students, which complicates the learning process. Through solutions such as assistive technology that helps bypass or compensate for specific learning deficits, as well as disability-specific smart devices, technology makes for more inclusive education. And for children who are too ill to go to school, classroom robots can stand in for them so they can watch and participate from home (or hospital) via a tablet device.

Reason #3 Tech-enabled personalized learning boosts student engagement

Use ofdigital technology in the classroom brings innovation through new learning methods that better accommodate all student’s needs. Technology allows schools to offer differentiated learning so they can, for instance, address the needs of students struggling to keep up and help prevent them dropping out. Even better, adaptive learning — made possible thanks to the latest advances in artificial intelligence — is taking personalized learning to the next level by providing content that’s optimized for each individual learner based upon their results. What’s more, innovative approaches that tap into the power of 3D, augmented reality, virtual reality and gamification are a big hit among students and teachers alike, boosting students’ level of engagement and motivation.

Reason #4 The education sector is ripe for the digital revolution

The framework of trust required to develop the digital classroom is already in place in the French education system. What’s more, a solution is now available that safeguards student privacy and is fully compliant with French and European data protection regulations, as well as ensuring data sovereignty and security in France.

Reason #5 Online learning prepares students for the fast-changing digital world

Studies estimate that between 60% and 80% of jobs that will exist by 2030 haven’t been invented yet and that most will be tech-related. By transforming classroom learning, we’ll give students the keys to make the most of technology, help them grasp what’s involved in coding and ultimately empower them to shape the world of the future – their world. It’s our responsibility to do this, and to do it now.

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