Teachers and technology: Will digital learning reduce dependence on human educators?

Electronic media has become all-pervasive in the modern academic curriculum and this has brought into question the relevance of human teachers in the increasingly digitised classroom.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2017 7:36 pm
education technology, smart classroom, digital learning, learning apps, interactive boards, teachers, education news, indian express Eventually, teachers who use technology will replace those who do not.

In the recent years, there has been an exponential growth in the use of computers in various facets of learnin. This has not only become a must at most schools at the foundation levels of education, but at higher levels too where computer based training to promote distance and off hour learning has become a necessity.

Electronic media has become all-pervasive in the modern academic curriculum and this has brought into question the relevance of human teachers in the increasingly digitised classroom. Dispelling the question, however, is the fact that growth of electronic learning has not only enhanced the role of human interface but made teachers central to the enterprise.

Technology is not a substitute for a teacher, who imparts wholesome education. Such education has a strong social, moral and emotional content which are very important ingredients of a firm foundation of a student.  In fact, the role of the teachers has become more challenging and demanding as they need to constantly evolve and learn with changing times.

Here’s how technological advancement and its reach in classrooms has affected teachers:

Learning:

Primary education requires understanding of basic concepts and ideas. Computer aided education can vastly assist in improving cognitive skills and help in understanding basic concepts. However, teachers would play a pivotal role in ensuring that transmission of knowledge is logical and uniform over all children.

Higher education, on the other hand, is complex and requires focus and perseverance. The sheer magnitude of work requires a high degree of motivation and self-discipline from the students. While the modern tools of learning allow students to study at flexible hours and genuinely promote understanding, a teacher provides emotional support, motivation and ensures customized attention.

Teaching:

Modern technology would augment learning and even the field of education as they would be able to take over routine administrative tasks that usually take up much of the teaching time. It also provides graphical, audio and visual inputs and makes teaching simple and interesting.

Teachers can then concentrate on the development of non-cognitive twenty first century life skills like lateral thinking, problem solving and many such attributes that are equally critical components of education as academics. While modern technology can never replicate the institution of teachers, it would certainly redefine the traditional role of the teacher from a knowledge provider to a catalyst and a knowledge enabler.

Benefits:

Increase of technology in education has significantly altered the landscape by democratising education and making it accessible to all.  The vast variation in standards across educational institutions has considerably narrowed and become uniform. Any shortage of teachers has been bridged to some extent as mundane activities like syllabus management, programming and assessment have been partially taken over by computers relieving teachers towards core functions.

The job of a teacher today would require him or her to be digitally empowered, fully plugged in and constantly evolving to the needs of the time. Eventually, teachers who use technology will replace those who do not.

 

— Authored by Nitu Channan, Head Primary, MADE EASY School

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