Life Style

With the Internet, homework is changing



For Camille, the internet has transformed the early evening when, after pushing the door of her Parisian apartment, she sits down next to her son to help him with his homework. For two years, the parents of students, at each start of the school year, have launched a WhatsApp chat where they exchange news, advice and help..

“Until then, homework was always stressful, because Leo always forgot his things at school and never had the right book”, she recalls. Also, she called a small circle of friendly and understanding relatives, in order to recover the famous missing handouts and signed words in the correspondence book where the teacher wrote down the omissions.

→ READ. When homework “pollutes” family life

From now on, nothing of the kind. All he has to do is post a message to the parent group in the class. “There is always someone who sends me a photo of the exercise on time”, she assures. She discovered in passing that Leo was no exception. “Every evening, a parent or another asks for a photo of a forgotten book”, she laughs. She then hastens to help them out in her turn. Along the way, she became more forgiving of her son.

More room for mutual aid

For a few years now, digital, small and large, has entered the lives of families at homework time, in elementary school and even more in college, as Anna, 14, who is entering third, still testifies.. “Now, I do my homework with my friends on video, thanks to screen sharing. The teachers agree because it allows us all to progress, she assures. I also watch the videos of maths teacher and Youtubeur Yvan Monka when I did not understand the course in class. “

However, making more room for caring and breaking isolation is only one aspect of this shift in evening homework in the digital age. This also brings its share of new challenges that are not always easy for families to meet, as psychotherapist Brigitte Prot notes: “Some parents now feel the feeling of being divested of part of their mission. They don’t always understand what is expected of them when it comes to homework. In some cases, even, they discover, at this point, that their children have mastered the Internet better than them and wonder what they are still used for. “

However, the roles seemed simple a few years ago, when it came to having a lesson recited and checking that the required exercises had been done. Today, many are groping about: how far should we encourage children to seek information on the Internet on their own? Should we trust the many homework help sites?

“What, exactly, is preparing for an Internet presentation in fourth grade? “, questions Nicolas, father of a 9-year-old child. Last year, her son had to introduce Sweden to his class and, therefore, collect documents about the country. “We went on the Internet but I had no idea how much time he needed to spend there or how demanding he was. Suddenly, at one point, I ended up shutting down the computer and telling him to go to bed. Too bad for the note! “

Don’t worry about families

Aware of these difficulties, some establishments prefer not to go too fast, so as not to worry families. “The parents of our primary school students are rather cautious about digital technology at home, confesses Delphine Marais, head of establishment at the Fromente-Saint-François school, near Lyon. Our students therefore keep a paper diary, for example, until the end of CM2 and they are made aware of the risks of the Internet during primary school. In college, on the other hand, the textbook becomes digital because we also have to train our students in these uses. “

“Parents are more than ever needed alongside their child”, adds Brigitte Prot, to help the youngest sort out information, direct them to reliable sites and above all ensure that they do not disperse. “One of the biggest challenges is that the child does not drown in the mass of information online and that he does not forget to learn. Sometimes the fun aspect of the Internet can be a trap. I am thinking, for example, of sites to help learn multiplication tables which are great for encouraging the child to get to work, give an impression of ease but which do not replace the effort of memorization. “

→ READ. Managing school support well in the family

When the child is small, it is still necessary to check that the homework is done. But the attention of parents remains essential in adolescence, when the temptation to copy and paste is strong, continues the specialist. Educating the child on the effort would be a good way to give him guidelines for the future and prevent him from falling into the easy.

Automatic translators

Anna also says that, in her college, many of her classmates use machine translators to get rid of their language homework as quickly as possible. Through free applications, which they download to their phones, some students can obtain instant translations of dozens of pages. “In maths too, applications give the answers and even the reasoning to get there”, continues Anna. To do this, just scan the statement. A few seconds later, the answer appears on the screen.

Caroline Princé, inspector and coordinator of the Interlangues platform, in the Grenoble academy, nevertheless puts into perspective: “In language, we know these machine translators well, which we sometimes even use in class, for certain exercises. “

→ MAINTENANCE. Homework: “Digital technology can reduce inequalities”

In his eyes, digital still offers a great opportunity to progress. “Since the reform of language teaching in 2006, which gives a large place to the oral, this resource is used extensively in class and for work at home. Since then, students can train more easily. They record themselves, listen to each other again, talk by video with their correspondents… I believe that today no one would like to go back. “

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The time spent by parents accompanying their child in his homework

“On average, how long per day are you helped with your homework by your parents?” “ This is the question asked by the Statista portal to more than 1,000 French college students in June 2016. Result? Most of the young people questioned (39%) state that their parents devote less than a quarter of an hour to this support; 28% mention a duration of fifteen to thirty minutes, 17% answer thirty to forty-five minutes and 7% more than forty-five minutes. Only 8% believe that their parents do not follow them at all.

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To consult: free homework help sites

Educational Software.fr: This free site offers lots of ideas for learning while having fun from kindergarten to the end of elementary school. There are games, as well as review sheets, in mathematics and in French in particular, but also various awakening and language discovery activities.

Khan Academy: Founded in 2006 by Indian American Salman Khan, this site is the forerunner of free video lessons. Supported by a non-profit NGO, its mission is to“To provide free and quality education to everyone, everywhere”. More than 6,000 videos and tens of thousands of interactive exercises are available from elementary school to university to improve one’s level in mathematics and science.

Resource sites for teachers

BayardEducation: The Bayard group, publisher of The cross, offers content intended for teachers, via the bank of digital educational resources launched by the National Education. Contents I love English digital school, produced by Bayard, with its partners Tralalère and Educlever, were chosen by the ministry for the teaching of English in 3e cycle.

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