But who is hiding behind Serge le Lama’s class site and its many free and ad-free apps? A passionate school teacher who doesn’t count his hours! Maxime Becquet fell into the digital pot very early! In 2002 he passed the competition and already presented a dossier on the contribution of digital technology to learning during his oral – at the time one of the oral tests was based on a dossier. In 2002, few teachers relied on digital tools to support their students. “I’ve always had a strong need for IT, convinced that digital technology can help learning,” explains Maxime, who now holds an ERUN position.
Maxime Becquet is ERUN – Referent Teacher for Digital Uses – in two districts of the Lille Academy – Arras 1 and Arras ASH, districts made up of rural and urban schools. A position that he doesn’t regret taking up full-time since 2018, even if it wasn’t easy to leave the classroom. “I felt like I was letting the students down, but in the end I really appreciate being able to hold this position exclusively. This allowed me to enter first degree institutions but also discover second degree institutions and systems such as SEGPA, ULIS, UEE… Professional and human it is very enriching! And because I focus solely on the mission of ERUN, I can more easily support fellow school teachers (LO) and students.” Today, Maxime advises and trains teachers in digital tools and guides them in various projects, such as creating a web TV program, with the help of another ERUN Valérie Fournier.
A site born during incarceration
But Maxime Becquet is also a site that offers activities for kindergarten and cycle 2: The Lama class. The adventure begins in March 2020 while incarcerated. “A colleague and friend, a kindergarten teacher, asked me if I could make a game in which we mix up syllables of animal names,” says Maxime. The challenge is accepted. It was essential for him that the digital tool he builds is accessible online – with confinement – but also when internet access is impossible, so he makes an app. “Because I really like llamas, the name was quickly found. The site “La classe du lama” was born on April 3, 2020, Serge the lama became the mascot and the app was online on April 9″.
Some like to run or play music, Maxime likes to create small games for the site. “The more we train, the more fun we have. It has become a hobby in the evenings and weekends”. The teacher no longer counts his hours. “Today I spend on average between 10 and 15 hours creating an app, after that more than two hours for distribution on the site and in the stores. But the first year it was easily double. The worst was the creation of Flower of numbers 999. It took me more than 40 hours to find the technical solutions”.
The ‘community’ effect is undoubtedly inextricably linked to this commitment. “I had some very motivational EP posts and I realized by posting a visit counter that the daily number was increasing. It motivates. When I started talking about “the llama class” on Twitter, I got a few emails, really nice comments, and words in the site’s guestbook. Even today it is a real reward to read new posts, it is very exciting, I tell myself that my work is useful. I have also received class letters that I have published on the site. It really touched me.”
The Llama Class: A Collective Adventure
Maxime says she has received donations from colleagues to help finance small expenses. “I am sending them thank you very much! For example, this allowed me to purchase an Android developer account to publish the apps in the Google Play Store and make life easier for colleagues who don’t have internet in their classroom.” He can also count on the support of the AFTRN (Association of TICE National Network Trainers) which, thanks to its partners and members, has enabled him to purchase a very good microphone to improve the voice recordings, as well as a software license for the site. “Lately, the association has also fully funded the cost of the annual Apple Developer Subscription. The first apps are coming to Apple’s AppStore for iPads and iPhones. And always free and without ads! †
The lesson of the Lama is also about beautiful encounters and beautiful collaborations. “Nothing would have been possible without the help of my friends CPC Bruno Dhormes and Alain Bogart who accompanied me at the beginning of the site in answering didactic questions in mathematics. And then I have also worked with many colleagues, friends or virtual acquaintances. For example, a PE friend who did the English voices for Christmas Direction, Monique, met on Twitter, who sings in L’alphabet, Frédérique Caupin, a CPC colleague I recorded for an hour and only speaks graphemes and phonemes for the Scribble Witch App. I also talked a lot with @PetiteGraine255 who created all the illustrations for Snow Day’s interactive story. And then the ones I call Team Lama who have tested and provided constructive feedback during the development of the apps: Valérie Fournier, Elodie Hombert and Magalie Beugne – all PEs”.
Mainly intended for children, the site also offers adult access – top right – password protected to copy. “Adults in particular will find learning resources: a PDF with the skills and associated apps, resources for printing, etc. There are, for example, references to printed versions, paper versions of certain games or the Snow Day album, which also needs to be printed. They will also find the guestbook, don’t hesitate to leave a note to Serge the lama, it’s really nice! †
And since Serge the Lama loves little words, letters or drawings, Maxime encourages all classes to send him some. He undertakes to publish them all in the postal section of the site. “It is a small pleasure for Serge le Lama and me to receive mail from students. That said, I wonder what the postman’s reaction is when he reads Serge the llama on the envelope! So to your pencils, or your keyboards!
Lilia Ben Hamouda