Will technology replace teachers?
For thousands of years, knowledgeable people have been assigned the task of passing their wisdom onto eager learners, a task we refer to today as “teaching”. Even though historians can’t settle on who the first teacher in the world was, one thing is crystal clear: teachers have always had a major role in society and have made a lasting impact on all the previous and current generations.
With the rise of technology, the educational system has been trying to keep up with its progress by integrating it into the curriculum or using it as teaching and learning tools. However, the current pandemic presented challenges no one thought they’d have to face, and propelled teachers into a technological world they had never encountered before.
Online teaching became a struggle for teachers who had to adapt to this new reality in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, students and parents who are more comfortable with the current technological tools started raising questions about the accuracy of the actual educational system, its future and the part teachers will play in it. This generation is, for instance, the first to have grown up with the internet, and with information available at the click of a button. With online courses on the rise and millions of articles and videos explaining any topic you can think of and providing you with all the information you need, what becomes the role of an educator?
What makes a good teacher?
As it grows and develops, technology transforms into this big monster threatening to take a teacher’s place, and just like any other job, replacing them with a robot. And yes, technology can do amazing things. It can collect students’ data and track their learning patterns and their progress, it can identify their weaknesses and take on a whole host of tasks. But what this pandemic has shown us the most, in big bold letters, is the importance of human interaction. Teachers can pick up on social cues, they can notice if their students are bored, how they’re feeling, the emotions they’re conveying and the problems they might be having.
Think back to your favorite teacher: why did you like her the most? Was it because of all the knowledge she had and the material she taught you? Or was it because of the way she got through to you, presenting the subject in an interesting way and making you feel good about yourself? Therefore, just like the calculator didn’t replace the math teacher, technology won’t replace an educator.
Using technology as a tool
Teachers today have so much on their plate and are juggling to handle many responsibilities that should be the government’s and even the parents’ job. Instead of perceiving technology as a threat, teachers should think of technology as a tool to help them adapt to this new generation. Some platforms are there to allow teachers to plan their lessons and organize their material, linking them to objectives which will allow them to track their students’ progress and identify their weaknesses to help them improve. They can also allow teachers to communicate better with students and even parents, involving them in the educational journey of their children. Technology also has a major role in making a teacher’s class more interesting, by using different tools to boost students’ engagement and diversify the learning material.
The greatest combination
Instead of fearing that technology will take over a teacher’s job, let’s think of the aspects of the job it can take over to make their lives easier. It can simplify a teacher’s life and make it more comfortable, all while facilitating the learning process for the students’, with reduced time and efforts. Let’s change the approach of pitting Teachers against Technology in a boxing ring, and instead think of technology as a tool to deliver better learning, only when done by a great teacher!