Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The PROTIC environment vs. Non-specialized programs

When I was a High School student, I used to play Insaniquarium during my Computer class. I must say that this game was very entertaining. Still, I did not learn much in this course. Some schools offer special programs such as PROTIC (École secondaire Les Compagnons-de-Cartier) where students have to work on personal projects using technological tools. Since adolescents seem for the most part to like those technologies, this project is certainly extremely motivating for them. However, there is a downside to using technology in a classroom, and I am one good example of it; it is very hard to make sure that every student works on his or her stuff.

At Les Compagnons-de-Cartier, students are chosen according to different factors: (1) motivation towards technology; (2) personality; and (3) tests. Therefore, it is not very surprising to hear that their program is successful; students are chosen to fit with the program. For this reason, it is very hard to claim that using technologies in usual High Schools can be as effective as in PROTIC. Indeed, students do not all share an interest for technology and have differing personalities. Since I haven't heard of a program that works with non-specialized programs and haven't tried using it yet, I remain sceptical towards using technology as an educational tool.

Upon looking at PROTIC, I deduce that projects have to be interesting (or motivating) and must allow students to personalize what they do. I believe in prevention over punishment, and keeping students motivated is probably the best way to deal with Insaniquarium.

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