A new look at Digital technologies in schools in the Hauts-de-France Region

The so-called ‘digital transition’ is under way in schools. Interactions invited Manoëlle Martin, VP in charge of Lycées and Student Orientation for the Hauts-de-France Regional Council, to share her vision of this digital revolution in schools and where we see the gradual advent of new technologies in the classrooms.

A new look at Digital technologies in schools in the Hauts-de-France Region

All young people today have their Smartphones. They literally live with them. I-pads and other digital tools have become necessary to study and even in their search for future employment. How can we ensure best use of digital technologies in schools, as close as possible to users, viz., those we call the "digital natives".

"Well it is already happening in our best equipped establishments, notably those with an optical fibre provider service connection. As the term says, optical fibres transmit data at the speed of light. There are now over 100 000 adapted computers, plus the appropriate licences and software packages", says Counsellor Martin (Oise), who was also the instigator of the Génération #HDF card. This card is free but reserved for lycéens and apprentices in the Region. It offers lower price purchasing of school-books and equipment, for both schools and apprenticeships schemes.

ENTs and EIPs

The acronym ENT stands for Digital Work Areas (in French) but it has been noted that they are not homogeneous throughout the ex-Picardie Region. "What we are doing, via a call for proposal, is to build up a single ENT for the entire Region Hauts-de-France, i.e., covering the secondary school colleges, the lycées and perhaps even extending it to primary schools. It would be designed as a single, overarching tool, evolving throughout a pupil's/student's scholarity. Project is currently being analyzed and assessed and will be presented when school returns in September", announces Manoëlle Martin, who also envisages creating EIPs (acronym in French, standing for Shared Innovation Area). These would be very much akin to Fab'Labs, installed in certain lycées, transformed into publicly accessible areas where various tools could be made available, notably advanced 3D printers.

The EIPs would be open for students and education officers but also for entrepreneurs and DIY fans, plus various associations. It would become a real meeting and focal point for collaborative creative work. "41 EIPs are currently open and 25 more are being finalized. Our aim is to see 70 EIPs working hopefully in close collaboration with school and lycée teachers and with their head teachers".


MANOËLLE MARTIN REFERS TO UTC

"UTC-Costech Lab research scientists were the original designers behind the tactile Cre@tion table (cf. article p17 intra). It is a remarkable initiative. I was fortunate in that I came across this piece of equipment and we could imagine the incredible possibilities it offered. That is the future, as I see it. I can only stress my encouragement to such exploratory work at UTC, always a step ahead in many areas, for instance the driverless car or drone. This combination of basic research and innovation is an integral part of what we must develop for our Hauts-de-France Region and for France. Moreover, as you know, UTC trains high quality engineers for international posts and markets. It is now part of the reference HE establishments in the world"