Technology vs Teachers
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Since the beginning of the new millennium we have been witnessing a dramatic growth in the number of students taking online tutoring and therefore using technology as a tool to enhance their learning. They can now master a foreign language or complete a whole subject of study without leaving the comfort of their study room at home. Simultaneously, the technology used in a virtual classroom has also boomed resulting in smart boards, digital textbooks and many other tools offered on the Internet. Will this continuing growth in education technology affect teachers is the question before us today.
Many teachers are found excited by the new technology and interested in the ways in which they can use it to improve their teaching style. Many others are concerned about this rapid development of technology and doubt if they could keep pace with it. Their main concern is a question that many teachers frequently ask today, “Whether eventually we will be replaced by technology?” This question makes us reflect on our own teaching experiences and wonder whether teaching and technology are mutually exclusive.
No doubt that technology is able to take on a lot of teaching and learning tasks, but has its shortcomings too. The most prominent one is its inability to interact with students. Technology can expedite the learning process, but it cannot replace the role of the teacher. As Dr Vivienne Collinson points out in one of her studies at Michigan State University, “Computers do not teach children to question, to discriminate among sources of information, to weigh perspectives, to think about consequences, to bring contextual meaning to a situation, to be creative, or to make careful judgments.”
Teachers impart students with life skills, valuable life lessons and inspire them to reach their potential. They are much more than facilitators: they play the role of a guide and a mentor as well. Without a great teacher, technology merely becomes an automated tool and there will not be true inspiration and engagement. The discussions should be about how teachers can adapt to incorporate technology into their lessons.
The question of whether technology will replace teachers is an age-old debate and will continue as technology evolves further. We realise that promoting the use of technology in the classroom is possible only by coordinating it effectively with teachers. Technology can only assist in delivering better learning. When technology at their disposal develops teachers’ role in the classroom will inevitably change. Great technology requires great teachers!