Google at School: “The Educational Potential of Internet Tools is Immense”

France needs to open its education system to the realities of the digital world, an approach that is likely to bring about lasting and positive change in the daily lives of teachers and students, especially in secondary school. It is not just a question of guiding them to the correct use of the Internet and digital tools, but to go further, to integrate these tools into the way of teaching, to create this new pedagogy that Michel Serres has repeatedly called for his wishes. In this perspective, one can envisage an evolution from the lecture to a two-step formula, derived from the model that was already used in the past decades. business school Americans.

The principle is based on the students’ prior involvement in the subject of the course, so that the course itself becomes a moment to organize and summarize what the students themselves have acquired. The classic pattern of the direct transmission of new knowledge by the teacher is then partially expunged in favor of greater participation from each student. There is for them a progressive and stimulating appropriation of knowledge, and for the teacher a profoundly new and satisfying experience.

The example of the Economics course

Not all subjects – and in particular the exact sciences – are not amenable to the application of this method, which rather relates to fields such as philosophy, literature, history or economics. The pedagogical potential can be emphasized by an example, the simulation of a secondary school economics course. At some point, the teacher of this subject informs his students that the next lesson will be on a current topic, such as the financing of a start-up, the activity of investment funds or the action of the ECB.

Several groups of five or six students are formed and it is up to them to research the subject together, at their own pace. They are asked to perform these searches on Google, in French and for those who can, in English. These groups should designate spokespersons who will present to the whole class the approaches to the topic that will have noticed them most, as well as the names of the sites involved.

Some of the students’ discoveries could be particularly interesting, such as the refusal of banks to fund start-ups, the role of funds for recycling savings or the ECB’s role in creating money. One can imagine the work of preparation and animation of the teacher, who is responsible for 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 profile authors. We can also imagine the new motivation of students discovering the unexpected richness of the Internet and the relativity of knowledge.

Internet, an egalitarian resource

Many critics denounce, it is true, the addiction of young people to social networks and the general cessation of reading. However, we need to see the immense educational potential of the tools of the Internet, of 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, educational resources are accessible everywhere, at any time, for free or almost, making the internet a potentially significant contribution 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, you might say.

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Alain Lemasson, former banker and founder of infofi2000.com

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