Following the closure of schools in France due to COVID-19, the number of connections to CGI’s OpenENT secure education collaboration platform increased five-fold in three weeks. ENT stands for Espace Numérique de Travail in French, or virtual learning environment in English.
Designed to benefit the entire educational community, OpenENT is used by 2 million pupils and students in France at more than 1,700 schools.
“monLycée.net”, “Paris Classe Numérique” and “lyceeconnecte.fr” are all digital workspaces based on OpenENT. They operate as a social network dedicated to education that is 100% secure and under the control of the school. OpenENT enables a circle of trust between pupils, parents and teaching staff while contributing to the continuity of teaching.
During this pandemic, CGI is helping school communities respond to the crisis, and remains committed to serving their digital learning needs.
Supporting academic success through digital education
Bringing schools into the digital age is an imperative in the 21st century. From textbooks to workspaces, via messaging and school reports, OpenENT offers a multitude of digital services. Working together with French communities, CGI has designed OpenENT to help address key challenges such as:
- How to federate parents, pupils and teachers on the same social network
- How to respect the essential security and confidentiality constraints
- How to address the communication, disciplinary and absenteeism issues that lead to dropping out of school
What does a digital learning workspace do?
While diverting children completely from social networks or television might not be feasible, OpenENT helps shift the center of their attention to an educational social network. It places the student in a space designed for collaborative creativity, adapted to the evolution of his or her schooling, for example:
- In kindergarten, make way for fun! A child can click on the emoticon that best represents his mood of the day, the night he spent, or the quality of his or her breakfast.
- In elementary school, a student can have fun after a history lesson by creating a timeline, a family tree, a series of figures, etc.
- In secondary school, teens can study alone or in groups thanks to the video conference system. Very popular with high school students, OpenENT allows discovery of collaborative working methods – a great way to prepare for professional life.
Of course, OpenENT does not intend to replace the teacher. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to infuse new teaching methods, like “reverse pedagogy.” The principle is simple: the student prepares the course at home using videos, podcasts and readings recommended by the teacher and made available on the platform. The class session is then a great brainstorming session around what’s been studied.
How does OpenENT address parents’ concerns about cyber harassment and data exploitation?
OpenENT limits these abuses as much as possible by facilitating communication between all stakeholders in the educational circle, which is essential in a situation of harassment at school. It does not open any door to cyber harassment. Rather, it provides an ultra-secure space, using techniques from authentication to moderation of content.
When it comes to personal data, OpenENT respects the General Data Protection Regulation, and private data is never transmitted for commercial purposes.