Reading, writing and…tweeting?

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

To help teachers make the most of electronic devices in their classrooms, a researcher at Université de Montréal is tracking which behaviours are distracting and which ones enrich the experience.

Technology is a divisive issue among teachers. Some embrace it, finding new ways to engage their students through tablets, smartphones and laptops, while others see those devices as distractions or an invitation to cheat.

Thierry Karsenti, Canada Research Chair in Technologies in Education at Université de Montréal, knows that both opinions are right. He is investigating how a teacher’s behaviour can make the difference.

Karsenti is observing 32 tech-integrated classrooms across British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec to better understand how students are using their electronic devices. This gives him real-time data on how engaged students are in the classroom.

“The problem we have now,” he says, “is that many students are using technologies in schools, but getting them to learn with technologies is a very big challenge.”

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Find more stories of research in action on, the website of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

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Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) was built on the ideals of thinking big and investing in areas that matter to Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has ensured Canadian researchers have the tools — the cutting-edge labs, facilities and equipment — they need to push the frontiers of knowledge in all disciplines, and to contribute to the full spectrum of research — from discovery to technology development.