Re-inventing School on Three Continents

1 May 2016

The REFER – Rendez-vous des Ecoles Francophones En Réseau – took place on 17 & 18 March throughout the French speaking world. For the first time ever, IIL was host to one of the conferences while being linked up via internet to other on-line conferences taking place simultaneously on 3 different continents.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts on the part of Caroline Duret and her close collaboration with the REFER teams in Quebec, as well as local IIL staff, students, parents and educational professionals were able to virtually attend the conference. L’Institute had the honour of welcoming Emeline Brylinski, Assistant Project Manager at the International Bureau of Education at UNESCO, who spoke directly to participants present at the Institute.

What skills should schools teach in the face our changing world ?

This was the main topic of discussion at this 3rd edition of REFER Edu.

“Dwarves on the shoulders of giants: Artificial intelligence and the revival of education” was the title of the inaugural conference in Quebec, which provoked many reactions. Ollivier Dyens, professor of the Department of Language and French Literature at McGill University in Montreal, made the dramatic demonstration of recent progress made in the field of artificial intelligence, thus making it clear to everyone the need for a serious update to actual educational models.

Encouraged by this thought-provoking introduction, the public listened attentively to the follow­-up discussions, in order to find ways of opening up perspectives on education in the XXI century. The first of these took place at IIL. Our guest speaker, Emeline Brylinski, Assistant Project Manager at the International Bureau of Education at UNESCO, during her talk, focused on the issue of education for global citizenship. She particularly emphasized the importance of a rational integration of digital tools in order to build sustainable and peaceful societies. Several speakers, some of whom are internationally recognized for their expertise in the field of education, then took the floor via the Canadian REFE platform.

Thanks to virtual on-line collaboration, participants spoke and interacted on the themes addressed throughout the afternoon. Several questions asked by our students via Twitter were relayed and sent directly to the speakers on the other side of the Atlantic. For them, this event represented an real example of education in digital citizenship.

This event also nicely complemented an on-going collaborative exercise, started in November, between our Seconde students and those of the Collège Jésus-Marie de Sillery in Quebec. The work of the two classes was centered around a novel by Larry Tremblay entitled « L’Orangeraie » and has lead to an interview with the author, the edition of a collection of moral thoughts for the XXI century, as well as a theatrical performance.

It is through such projects that IIL, in a truely innovative spirit, is meeting the challenges of the time by taking practical steps towards education for the XXI century.


REFER Edu Official Website
Opening speech by Ollivier Dyens
Flash Speech by Emeline Brylinski
Drama performance adapted from the novel
REFER You Tube Channel