[Chronique de Normand Baillargeon] On the research side

It has been some time since I presented to you what new research in education teaches us.

We go there this time with three of my recent and instructive readings. We start with mindfulness. An important advice on mindfulness at school. What is it about ?

In a nutshell, mindfulness meditation (mindfulnessin English), of oriental origin, is a technique that can be learned and through which, precisely, we become aware of what we think and feel, of the environment in which we find ourselves, and we develop in the face of everything This is an attitude free from judgment and made of reception and benevolence.

Its purported benefits are many. Among them are better emotional and physical health, and improved relationships. This practice, sometimes controversial it must be said, has made its way into schools a few years ago, and with us it happens that it is taught at university to future teachers.

What to think? An interesting research note on the question has just been published in France. It is signed by credible researchers (Franck Ramus, with Stanislas Dehaene, Stéphanie Mazza, and Elena Pasquinellia).

I invite you to read it, but here is their conclusion. ” [On] sees no compelling reason to ban mindfulness and other well-being practices in national education, but these practices should be strictly regulated. Given the many questions that remain open, one possibility could be to limit its use for the time being to scientific research. Another possibility would be to authorize practices subject to compliance with scientifically validated protocols in the current state of knowledge. »

Artificial intelligence (AI) and education

What does AI have in store for us? Here, as you know, we are entering an area where, between great promises and serious dangers, conjecture goes in all directions. Consider for example, if you are not familiar with it, this thought experiment on paper clips…

How not to think too badly about what AI means for education? It is far from easy. But a recent article in the brand new journal Computer science and education: artificial intelligence helped me put some order in my thoughts on this subject. It may have the same effect on you.

The authors, Fan Ouyang and Pengcheng Jiao, suggest distinguishing three models, or paradigms, which allow artificial intelligence to be part of education.

In the first paradigm, AI is used to represent knowledge models and drive cognitive learning: learners are the beneficiaries of AI services. In the second, AI is used to support learning: learners work as collaborators with AI. Finally, in the third paradigm, AI is used to reinforce learning and learners take the initiative to learn.

I don’t do the text justice here, and I urge you to read it. But I think it’s illuminating.

There remains, of course, the whole question of promises and perils. I fear that, as with computers, the Internet and social networks, the future will hold surprises, sometimes bad ones, if we don’t think about them enough and if we give in to the lures dangled by people sometimes eager for big under…

south the cua

Are you familiar with Universal Design for Learning (UDL, also known as Universal design for learning)? Developed twenty years ago, it focuses on the use of technology to transform education. There are different brain areas involved in the learning process, which must be taken into account when planning lessons.

The philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) said, with good reason, that a wise person proportions his belief to the evidence. What about the AUC? In a recent article, Michael PA Murphy reviews the research on her.

Here are his findings. “No rigorous published research has demonstrated any improvement in an educational intervention designed with the principles of UDL in mind. Furthermore, the community of practice around AUC appears to be hostile to questions regarding the rigor of analysis used to promote AUC interventions. Studies of UDL approaches do not follow best practice in research design, and often solicit anecdotes rather than testing the effectiveness of the approach. »

“Since the effectiveness of this theory has not been proven,” he continues, “there is no reason for AUC implementation plans to be presented as evidence-based decisions. […] Institutions at all levels of education should therefore exercise caution before devoting significant resources to implementing UDL. »

In short, the theory may be valid, but it has not been proven. Until we find something better, it is therefore wise to remain skeptical and to proportion our belief to the evidence.

To see in video

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