Is Technology Really a Threat to Your Role as an Educator?
This question arises from time to time, especially among the technophobes out there, so I thought it deserved a direct response! – KW
This question has been ominously circulating since the 1980s when computers first made their way into schools – will technology ever replace teachers? Even after 30 plus years, the answer is still a resounding, no. Teaching, and its art form, are built on a strong foundation of passion and a complex body of knowledge. It’s not a simple, repetitive task with few variables involved. Educating is about customizing, planning and engaging students of all walks of life in an environment where each individual has the chance to succeed.
There isn’t a one-size fits all glove for teaching. Every student learns at a different level in his or her own unique way, be it demonstrations, hands-on learning, small class sizes, standard lectures, solo reading, etc. Teaching is about tailoring, adjusting and emotionally stimulating – something a machine/technology can never replace because teachers are not and never will be seen as simple mechanisms handing out information to students.
Technology is not a threat to teachers’ jobs because teachers assume the roles of leaders, guides, initiators and mentors keeping students on path, encouraging them when they struggle and inspiring them to always reach beyond their grasp. Technology can spew out information, but teachers can roll up their sleeves and lend a hand at learning or an ear at listening in the ultimate plan for success.
In fact, today’s technology and tomorrow’s tech will more than likely only enhance teaching and student learning. With so much technology at our disposal, teachers have many more possibilities with which to reach their students. Technology and teachers will not only continue to coexist, but they will benefit one another.
Here are just a few areas in which teaching can benefit from and be empowered by technology.
Relevant engagement – Teachers can always implement a human connection by selecting relevant content tailored toward their curriculum, customize options for levels of difficulty, alternate ways to learn and more. They can read the situation and act accordingly based on what is and what isn’t effectively working. And now with tools like laptops, tablets and other smart devices, it’s even easier to connect anywhere and anytime with students.
Complex learning – A teacher and a chalkboard can’t always capture the imagination of a student. Technology can help improve students’ understanding of complex concepts through the use of in-depth animations, simulations and visualizations (videos and etc.).
World wide access – Technology can provide added benefits to the classroom when it comes to accessing research, connecting to people, organizing group projects, recording data and more.
Real world expertise – More than ever, technology has provided students with the same tools professionals use in their day-to-day careers, giving hands-on learning a whole new meaning. Whether you’re a writer, composer, producer, researcher, number cruncher, analyst, designer – whatever – there are tools at students’ disposal, virtually everywhere.
Technology will not replace teachers now or in the near future as the two continue to improve the opportunity for students to learn. In an increasingly digital world, it’s important to remember that the passion between loving to teach and loving to learn is a human connection that can only be shared between a teacher and his or her students.