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Published October 9, 2011 | Multidisciplinary

Conducting PAREA-funded Information Technology Research

Translation of this article by Jim Edwards and linguistic revision by Norm Spatz

You are asking yourself no end of questions about information technology (IT), and suspect that others have a similar flood of questions. Some people have undertaken research projects to work on finding answers. One teacher, for example, is attempting to find out whether frequent use of the French text correction software Antidote can not only correct errors but also help students learn French. And this year an intercollegiate team is undertaking a study on the opportunities offered by DALITE (Dawson Active Learning and Interactive Technology Environment) as well as on methods for promoting learning transfer and developing a strong scientific identity. And for the second year, another teacher is conducting research on the Web Knowledge Forum® (Web KF). In a completely different vein, a team is focusing on the issue of students' perceptions of the educational effectiveness of the Universal Patient Simulator approach to providing technical training to nurses. Meanwhile, a team of college and university researchers is attempting to discover the information skills of Heritage College students. Another team is focusing on issues related to the use of the learning environment known as Connected Science. Lastly, a team is studying the cognitive and metacognitive strategies adopted in problem solving situations presented in a wiki. The questions asked within the scope of projects like these may be separate from one another, but they have one thing in common which is that they are funded by the Programme d'aide à la recherche sur l'enseignement et l'apprentissage  (PAREA). Among the projects that researchers are working on are the following :

  1. Mesure et évaluation des apports d’un correcticiel (Measurement and evaluation of the benefits of a text correction software).
  2. Using Collective Conceptual Networks in Learning and Teaching: Linking school science to the real world with the aid of new IT tools.
  3. L’apprentissage de la littérature au collégial assisté par une technologie de réseau : un potentiel de métacognition de créativité et d’approfondissement dans une communauté en émergence (Learning literature at college with the assistance of network technology: potential for metacognition, creativity and in-depth study in an emerging community);
  4. Approche SPU en soins infirmiers (The Universal Patient Simulator approach in nursing).
  5. Information seeking behavior: students' and teachers' perceptions at Heritage College.
  6. Learners, not Lurkers: Connecting Conceptual and Social Networks in Science Education.
  7. Analyse de l’utilisation d’un wiki dans les stratégies cognitives et métacognitives des élèves en soins infirmiers (Analysis of wiki use in nursing students' cognitive and metacognitive strategies).

For the current year, the Québec Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) is providing financial assistance to 15 projects under PAREA, including 7 dealing with the educational applications of computers or IT. Would you like to obtain information on this program? On November 9, the Association pour la recherche au collégial (ARC) will be holding a French online information session on PAREA . Would you prefer assistance with writing the proposal for a project you are in the process of developing? The Association invites you to register for a PAREA workshop in French. Two online sessions will be held, the first on December 13, and the second on December 15. The deadline for submitting an application for the 2012-2013 academic year is January 27, 2012! Don't miss it! Take advantage of the resources placed at your disposal right now.

Since its creation, the college network has been so active in researching the educational applications of computers or IT that ARC was able to conduct metaresearch projects on the subject (Barbeau, 2007, Barrette, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 (The 2011 study is currently being translated into English)). As a result, more and more is known about the pedagogical, technical and organizational conditions that must be put in place for IT integration to have positive impacts on academic results. Even so, we are still most definitely far from knowing all there is to know. That is why PAREA, which can release teachers from their duties to study an issue in great detail, is as relevant now as ever. If you have a project in mind, if you have questions, or if you want to form a team that will focus on a specific topic, then visit the ARC website right now and sign up for the information session on November 9 and put out feelers below to find out if other people are asking the same questions as you.

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