Life Style

Homework: “Digital technology can reduce inequalities”

The cross: From a neuroscience perspective, is it a good idea to have students do their homework in front of a screen?

Gregory Borst: For several years, this question has arisen a lot. Education specialists and psychologists wonder about the proper use of digital tools in classrooms but also for homework.

For my part, I think that there is above all an issue of equality behind the way France approaches homework today. I do not dispute the merits of this form of repetition, but I wonder if we can see to what extent this constraint can be experienced differently depending on the economic, cultural and social situation of the families.

They cannot all accompany the child in the same way. The “Homework done” system (free support in colleges, after classes) implemented since 2017, is a response, but has not called into question the very principle of homework.

In terms of homework, could we not still make better use of digital technology?

GB: Digital homework can reduce educational inequalities by making it suitable for everyone. If we gave each child a tablet at home, the teacher could give them individualized follow-up. This is essential and is, moreover, promoted as an educational ideal.

The teacher could create custom homework. This already exists somewhat, with certain programs such as Kwyk in mathematics: the teacher remotely opens an exercise session, the difficulty of which adapts to the student’s abilities. In turn, the teacher follows the learning curve, understands where the student has stumbled, and then knows where to pick up in class.

→ READ. Managing school support well in the family

We could go even further and use digital technology no longer to support school learning as such but to develop all the skills that are the basis of all schooling: attention skills, concentration, memorization, etc.

For example, a first grade teacher could suggest small games to his students in the evening and then refer to them in class. He could say for example: “It’s like in the exercise I asked you to do at home: you have to link the syllables as you knew very well how to link such and such a pawn. “

How is this fundamental?

GB: This is perhaps surprising because we are still very far from this type of approach, but this kind of learning is essential. It is generally done in the course of daily life in the family: by cooking with the children, by reading them stories, we teach them casually concentration, abstraction …

What arms them for school learning. The problem is that children who do not benefit from these attentions do not learn these skills and are left by the wayside.


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