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Why the ICT Profile?

Huguette Dupont, Education Advisor at the Cégep de Granby and community leader for the ICT Profile team, about the ICT Profile (clip in French).

The ICT Profile for Students proposes structured learning steps that are informational, methodological and technological. It makes it easier to make the right choices and take the right action for integrating ICT in the classroom, and it supports the successful integration of ICT in programs through consultation related to a framework, progressive and coherent development of ICT skills and the implementation of pedagogical and organizational conditions.

Students use their smartphones for texting, networking on Facebook or for watching videos on YouTube. Their use of technology remains functional, for day-to-day use, mostly leisurely and basic: it is used for communicating with friends and for entertainment. We are quite far from an efficient use of technology for academic or professional purpose.

When they come to college, many students exhibit serious knowledge gaps when it comes to informational skills, whether it be to clearly define a subject for research, to identify pertinent keywords, to evaluate the validity and reliability of sources of information, to analyze information or to summarize it. Plagiarism, for example, is a major subject of concern. Students must also develop skills when it comes to presenting results, managing their files, and adequately using social media and communication tools. Carrying out these tasks has become essential for pursuing studies, careers and even in the daily life of all citizens.

Today, faced with such an overabundance of information, with so many options for searching, analyzing and presenting information in a highly mediatized world, and also with so many communication and collaboration tools available, the educational network is placed on the front line in offering support to students so that they can face the reality of a digital society.

Students must be able to face these challenges, as much for their academic goals as for their career, and to develop into today’s and future citizens in an environment where technology is everywhere and becoming more and more diversified. To fulfil this need, the college network makes available to colleges the ICT Profile for College Students.

To integrate ICT Profile skills in courses means to better benefit from their potential in varied contexts, work in teams, carry out projects, use information, solve problems, gain knowledge, carry out activities in different contexts, build and update knowledge, and to benefit from efficient work methods.

Developing ICT skills means to:

  • ensure students master essential skills needed to pursue college and university studies;
  • meet the expectations and requirements of universities and of the labour market, and to prepare for being part of and a citizen in a digital society;
  • support academic success: mastering informational skills leads to academic success (Mottet, 2014);
  • teach specific skills rather than assuming that students already have them; and
  • support active pedagogy, a method teaching students through different contexts and actions, in support of the development of disciplinary skills.

All preuniversity and technical programs in the college network have skills or objectives directly or indirectly related to informational and technological skills. Nevertheless, we observe variability in the training received by students in terms of ICT skills. First of all, the skills they master when starting college studies depend on their academic path, the use of technology at home, their part-time jobs, their personal interests, etc. This is a particular concern with adult students. As for their skills at graduation, they depend on the nature of the program of study and on the teaching practices. Furthermore, there is a gap between the perception students have of their own skills and what teachers observe. The experience lived in our colleges, and numerous publications on Profweb show that teachers already integrate activities associated with ICT Profile skills (Perreault 2012). However, the development of students’ ICT skills in a program or college sometimes lies on a small number of teachers.

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