Arts et Métiers ParisTech is a French engineering and research graduate school. It is a general engineering school recognized for leading French higher education in the fields of mechanics and industrialization.
Cécile Pichon, multimedia pedagogical engineer at ENSAM, shares her vision of the use of new technologies in teaching.
Is digitalization a threat or an opportunity for education?
It depends on what we mean by digitalization. Modern technologies aren’t a threat. Communication and transmission technologies have changed a lot and are now necessary for education to evolve. However, technology must remain a tool in service of education. On one hand, it can be a threat if people start to think it will revolutionize education all by itself. On the other, it is also an opportunity to ease integration of new methods. For instance, the use of video in blended learning undeniably creates innovation, but it remains a tool in the service of this innovation.
What digital solutions have you implement at ENSAM and what are their benefits?
We have integrated a platform called Moodle. It offers a lot of possibilities to our teachers: share resources, organize group assignments or even organize votes and questionnaires to be answered by their students. Since September 2016, we also use Wooclap. It allows professors to get an immediate feedback on the comprehension of their students. This enables them to adapt their teachings in real-time. Some professors also use it to measure the knowledge students have acquired during their previous years. That way they know if students have acquired the required skills for their courses.
What are the benefits of using Wooclap for professors?
- Immediately measures the students’ comprehension.
- Energizes traditional lecture halls where students’ attention is easily lost after the first fifteen minutes.
- Collects feedback from the students.
- Gamifies their courses by organizing games/tests; I’m especially thinking about Wooclap’s competition mode.
What are the benefits of using Wooclap for the students?
- In a less traditional and therefore more attractive lecture hall, students become actors in their own courses.
- They assess their own understanding continuously, which means they can ask for explanation as soon as the lecture becomes unclear.
- Shy students can ask their question anonymously.
- Working in groups in the lecture hall.
- ‘Grade’ their professors.
Do you recommend teachers to change their teaching methods by using Wooclap? What are your tips?
We do not advise teachers to change their methodology, but rather to insert new elements with Wooclap. For example, using Wooclap right before starting your courses helps you measure if the previous lecture was properly understood. During the course, you can know if they understand what you’re saying right at that moment. And the competition mode allows you to motivate your students through gamification. It really depends on what the teacher is looking for.
What technologies will influence education in the following years?
Virtual Reality will probably be prominent in the next few years, and it is slowly making its way into our classes. However, I think machine learning will have a much larger impact on the long-term future of education.