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Theme 2.1: Established Learning Platforms for Literacy, Numeracy and Science

Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

This theme includes projects associated with tools designed, developed, and implemented by the Centre’s researchers. Such tools reveal novel and rigorously tested environments and spaces for learning and performance, supporting peer learning, facilitating interactions with and among teachers, and providing learning resources to important stakeholders such as parents, educators, and policy-makers.


Digital Literacies

Funded by the FRQSC Action Concertée grant, Promoting Digital Literacies for Secondary Students: A Collaborative Action Research Project is an intervention in online modules that promote digital literacy. Working with Quebec teachers and students, the project addresses the issues of misinformation and disinformation, which have led to what some call an infodemic. Dr. Corrigan’s research supports teachers and students in learning to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources. This research project goes beyond the typical intervention to address confirmation bias and the willingness to hear a perspective or “truth” that lies outside one’s already established beliefs. Taken together with her collaborative work with the free online modules entitled Critical Online Resource Evaluation (CORE) framework, Corrigan’s research is an invaluable resource for anyone working with students who spend a considerable amount of time online. Her work is especially practical for those living in Quebec, as the two projects mentioned above align with the Quebec Education Plan (QEP).

ResearcherJulie Corrigan

From Hate to Hope Massive Open Online Class (MOOC)

Dr. Venkatesh is the director of Project Someone. With the help of Project Someone collaborators, Dr. Venkatesh developed the From Hate to Hope MOOC. Designed with different community stakeholders in mind, this MOOC addresses current issues surrounding hate and radicalization head on. Starting with an exploration of the distinction between hate speech and free speech, the content moves on to look at how social media can be used to both traffic and challenge hateful messages. This MOOC is distinguished by its integration of multiple voices and perspectives on these issues. It also addresses hot topics like fake news, filter bubbles and tactics used by hate groups, which are analyzed with examples. More importantly, tangible solutions for prevention, resilience, and advocacy, online and offline, are presented as participants are called upon to make a difference in their own sectors. Each module offers a wealth of varied, current, and actionable knowledge, exchanges with peers, as well as interactive exercises.

ResearcherVivek Venkatesh

In vivo

The In vivo project is a intervention program which aims to develop teens’ competence when coping with stress, something they experience in their everyday lives. This is done by putting participants in situations where stress is induced in a progressive and controlled manner in order to have them recognize the feeling as well as the strategies they can or will use to deal with it. Stress inoculation training is a central component of the In vivo program. By implementing In vivo in schools or readaptation centres for troubled youth, Dr. Bluteau hopes not only to equip students with these coping strategies, but also to bring mental health and well-being services, such as the psychoeducators who lead the program in collaboration with the research team, closer to schools.

ResearcherJonathan Bluteau

La forêt de l’alphabet

Dr. Brodeur developed “La forêt de l’alphabet”, a program for kindergarteners (5 years old) in the early 2000s, to help ensure success in literacy and prevent future difficulties. This program uses teacher-led gamified activities to aid in the identification of letters name and sound along with the development of phonemic awareness and vocabulary. Dr Brodeur’s current projects are various studies collecting data on the practical implementation of “La forêt de l’alphabet” in the classroom, following a multitiered approach, with the collaboration of teachers that the research team has trained to use the program.

ResearcherMonique Brodeur

The Use of Speech Technologies for Pedagogical Purposes

Within this area of research, Dr. Cardoso investigates what speech technologies that are free, easily accessible, and not originally designed for pedagogical purposes can be used to extend the reach of the classroom, serve as a complement to the classroom, or allow for autonomous learning outside the classroom. Such technologies are capable of text-to-speech, speech-to-text synthesis and include intelligent personal assistants (IPAs, for instance, Google Home, Alexa, and Siri). Cardoso is interested in equipping teachers and students with strategies to utilize speech technologies to overcome some of the hurdles that language learners may face, namely a lack of time, or access to paid resources or native speakers of the second language. In Intelligent personal assistants: can they understand and be understood by accented L2 learners?, Cardoso found that when Alexa could not understand participants, they developed strategies to be understood by the IPA: they practiced, repeated their requests, and rephrased their questions. These strategies are some of the affordances of speech technology for second language learners that fuel the desire to research further in this area.

ResearcherWalcir Cardoso

Using Technology to Improve Literacy in the Global South

Funded by the Global Partnership for Education, Knowledge and Innovation Exchange Global Grant, this project, lead by Dr. Abrami, expands on the above research area by asking how to bring the promising effects of the research to a national scale. Another focus of this project is to assess the effects of various technology-based instructional approaches on teacher professional development (PD). In this case, PD relates specifically to the progression through the 12 Modules designed to prepare teachers to teach literacy with the Learning Toolkit+. Because this project began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team negotiated relationships with local teams, teachers, educational ministries, and policymakers through the use of various technological tools. The collaboration involved in this project is a testimony to the dedication to improve literacy in Kenya and in two newly added contexts, Rwanda and Bangladesh.

ResearcherPhilip C. Abrami

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