Friday, February 18, 2011

Are Teachers Obsolete?

I recently saw this commercial on TV and it got me thinking. Technology does move faster than the speed of light and the world is struggling to keep up. I remember not too long ago my parent’s first mobile phone. It was a bag that was kept in the car and had about a ten minute monthly plan and everywhere you went was “roaming”. My cell phone does more thing than the first computers I worked on in school. The reality is that the technology we have now will not be around in its current form when our children are our age.


With that being said, one has to reflect on the technology and teaching in the classrooms. Overheads are largely a thing of the past and interactive whiteboards are all over the place. However, has teaching really changed along with the technology being used? Is the way we go about doing our jobs different than a generation ago? As the technology changes and becomes obsolete, are traditional teachers becoming obsolete along with it?

To be clear I would define a traditional teacher as one that stands in front of the classroom as the grand dispenser of knowledge. Students sit in their desks and takes notes and study hard for their tests. Homework is assigned every night because that is what is done and if you turn it in late your grade is lowered. Tests are given as assessment of learning and certainly no such thing as student choice and retakes. To me this was largely what I experienced growing up in a rural public school system.

Has the practice of teaching changed or just the tools we use? Is the way in which students learn changing, or do we just understand it better now? Can a teacher that taught 50 years ago be successful in our classrooms today without adapting and changing to the students in the seats? Can students learn without a teacher? My 5 year old son is learning how to read with his ipad…and I find it an amazing thing to witness… Do the students need us to teach them? Or have our jobs changed?
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