I read this article with interest this morning. “Why Educators Still Matter in the Digital Age“.
It wasn’t until partially through the article that the author talks about the role of the teacher being “more important than ever before”. I would have made that part of the title, as I have done with this post. In addition to the points raised in the article, I would add the following.
Determining what is best and appropriate
We’ve all heard the message about digital natives and digital immigrants and the concept has been written off, rightfully, by most. I still maintain that it was a wakeup call for educators. Yes, you can “just Google it”, but it takes a professional to understand and guide the student to the most relevant and important uses of information and technology. Especially online, it’s a confusing world out there. How does the emergent learner survive without appropriate guidance and support? That guidance also knows when digital technology is not appropriate for the learning task at hand.
Even in times where the most appropriate choices have been made, anyone is one click away from another tab to check Facebook updates or a task switch to another application that’s more fun or interesting than the task at hand.
Cutting through the nonsense
There are so many experts that claim to have the right answer. It can range from the type of software that’s licensed centrally, the videos that describe how to do something, the time that it takes to learn something, the theory of the day, … It’s only that teacher who has the regular contact to know what’s actually happening with the learning. This piece of technology may work in their labs or as part of the research that they’ve read but does it work with the students in Room ###?
We know that ongoing, immediate, and effective feedback along with appropriate assessment is the best way to ensure student success. Technology is getting better but the feedback from a self-marking test pales in comparison with that friendly voice in the classroom that says, “Did you consider this?” or “I’d like you to take another try at it”. Digital technology can be wonderful but it falls short when it comes to assessing a performance that just can’t be assessed with the technology.
Contact with Mom and Dad
Have you ever wondered what a parent/teacher interview with a piece of technology would look like? Can digital technology understand the personal issues that might be happening at home or with the child? Can that technology work on a plan for working with home for improvement?
I like technology as much as the next person. At this point, it still remains a guest in the classroom used by teachers and students where appropriate. The options for its use have never been better. It’s still not at the point where it can go it alone!