In the current context of an accelerated diffusion of Information and Communications Technologies and given growing demands for ICT skills in the world of work, it is clear that the education systems of the developed countries have a key role to play today in the training of individuals in the new technologies. These technologies are, on the one hand, gradually – though increasingly quickly – transforming communications in our societies and we have to adapt to this; on the other, they are offering new means of access to knowledge, which the education system cannot ignore. What changes are, in fact, underway in France in modes of teaching and learning in the digital age?
Guy Ménant, who has, among other things, been director of the ICT for Education Unit of the General Inspectorate of Education, surveys these changes here. He shows, for example, how the digital culture is currently invading schools and colleges and how obstacles and reluctance in the face of that development (particularly on the part of staff, who at times feel rather outrun by it) are diminishing. He goes on to stress the extent to which this technological culture has become essential for pupils’ future career prospects and how it can provide new, more collaborative and dynamic teaching tools for the classroom. And though the school system cannot, admittedly, eliminate the “digital divide” between those students with easy access to the new technologies and those who cannot afford them, it has a key role to play in preventing that divide from growing by enabling everyone to acquire the basic skills to use them.