The Forum des images, in Paris, is home to a new kind of school, reserved for people from 12 to 18 years old. Tumo develops a pedagogy based on self-training: tablet in hand, teenagers get introduced to graphic design, cinema, programming, etc. Like they were playing a video game.
It looks like a giant room, where overwhelmed parents would have finally abdicated in the face of adversity and entrusted the surveillance of their offspring to a touch screen. Slumped on large red and purple sofas at the Forum des Images, in Paris, headphones on their ears, about fifty teenagers have their eyes riveted on their tablet. But the atmosphere is more studious than it seems and, if you look closely, these young people are actually learning. Silence, concentration, brainstorming. They are between 12 and 18 years old, and are the first students of Tumo Paris, a free digital school (reserved for Parisians) to innovative pedagogy, the first international variation of an Armenian school. The opening of this center at the Forum des Images, on September 25, is the will of Anne Hidalgo herself: the mayor of Paris was impressed by the model during a visit to Yerevan, the capital of the Armenia.
No test at the entrance, no selection, no notes, no competition. And no teacher on the horizon, only a handful of animators in white sleeveless jackets, present to refer those who are called “students” in case of incomprehension or bug. Two hours per week, teenagers will learn – according to the term – eight disciplines (cinema, animation, video games, music, drawing, graphics, 3D modeling and programming) thanks to a software developed in 2011 (and refined since) by an Armenian couple, Marie-Lou and Pégor Papazian. She is an engineer and studied pedagogy at Columbia University, in New York, he is a computer scientist.
An artificial intelligence to learn better
“Thirteen years ago, we left the United States to return to Armenia. We found that the school system was catastrophic and that it was necessary to give a chance to the young Armenians to develop their creativity, ” explains Pégor Papazian, looking proudly at the Parisian center. “We have five kids and we noticed how great their concentration is when it comes to playing video games. So we took advantage of this almost natural ability to learn. “In Armenia, they are 14 000 young people to benefit from the teaching Tumo: a program where everything is” gamifié “levels unlock automatically as the advanced student.
“I may find my calling! It’s not too bad for a Wednesday afternoon. “Emma, age 15
The program is based on an artificial intelligence that makes it possible to personalize the educational path of each person, according to his choices, his progress, his rhythm or even his mistakes. Everything is a matter of play, adaptation, practical practice and autonomy. “It’s a dynamic and intuitive learning, we go without frustration and always with a challenge more and more complicated to achieve, obviously based on knowledge,” said Pégor Papazian.
Massyl, 12, comes from Fontenay-sous-Bois and proudly shows us his first animation prowess: a blue man who waved his arms. It’s not even an hour since he’s here and he already feels like he’s learned something. “I may find my calling! It’s not too bad for a Wednesday afternoon, ” says happily Emma, 15, visibly delighted with her choice of extracurricular activity. A little further, very applied, Ralia, 14, draws a character from geometric shapes, as requested by the software. “I make a bear cub with circles. I dream of working in animation, that’s why I registered here, I’ll be able to touch everything. “Ralia takes his drawing pictures with his tablet and sends it to conclude its exercise session.
Free and multiple creativity in the program
At the back of the room, three proofreaders carefully look at each other’s achievements and leave an appreciation. “We are not talking about success or failure here, only acquisition. They are told if they understood what was asked or not, ” says one of them. All the students present are in phase of orientation: they test all the disciplines and will then, within one or two months, to choose three. “Three, no more and no less! “Says laughing koryun Khatchadourian, who led for three years one of the four schools of Armenia Tumo and is the project manager Tumo Paris. “They need to be creative in many areas, it’s essential. “In Armenia, young people studying at Tumo on average two years and some are even promoted animators.
“Tumo is like a digital Montessori, it’s a gear in a wider educational ecosystem.” Claude Farge, director of the Forum des images
“We are always very impressed and surprised by the creative power of teenagers. The results are crazy! I think that all children have always been able to create something, we just have to give them the tools and the chance to do it, “said Pégor Papazian, who was able to count on the financial support of two Armenian patrons, Sylva and Sam Simonian. He continues: “We did not want to create a school accessible only to an elite who would have the means. Our goal is not that only twenty students benefit from teaching. Everyone had to enjoy it. That’s why it’s free, there is no need for equipment and everything is done on site. “The partnership with the Forum of the images is therefore senses: image education has always been a place of mission, which has the significant advantage of being central, accessible by RER for all Parisians.
Bridges are also to be created between the annual events of the place and the school. “We are delighted,” says Claude Farge, director of the Forum des Images since last January: “Tumo is like a Montessori digital, it is a gear in a wider educational ecosystem. It is the link of public service that was missing. ” For the moment, Tumo Paris welcomes 750 lucky but intends to double its workforce by early 2019, ensuring enrollment throughout the year.