No doubt, in present scenario, integration of technology in the classroom has become imperative. Technology is the wave of present and of course future education system.
In this technological wave, somewhere we are ignoring the relevance of teachers and their effective teaching. Thoughts like technology can replace teachers or there is no need of teachers when we have technology, is prevailing nowadays. All these thoughts somewhere make us realize that tech is everything, not teaching.
But when I took this thought to different tech savvy educators on various social media platforms and asked them:
“In this technological era, everybody is talking more about various technologies in education but less about effective teaching with technology just as an aid. A good teacher doesn't necessarily need to use technology to do that. As an educator, how much do you agree to this?”
I found that tech savvy teachers talk less about technology and more about teaching. They see technology as a great tool to help them in teaching, but not technology above teaching.
A tech savvy Physics and Mathematics lecturer from Karachi says, “Technology is included in the hardware part of teaching aid, it can help teacher but can never replace the Teacher. I personally believe that the more usage in the classroom has made our students less creative thinker.
For example when teacher says suppose an Apple , some students suppose red, some green , some big , some small...so we have many ideas in class but nowadays if teacher teach with projector and make the student want a particular Apple then we lose the creative mind of the student and also we have only one idea.
But if it is working in a limited manner then we can use...technology is a part of teaching not the heart of teaching.”
Most of the tech savvy teachers give first preference to their learning objectives and then they think about tools that can assist them in accomplishing those learning objectives for their students. Almost all tech savvy educators also believe that technology does not replace good pedagogy. Tech is best when used in application not isolation.
No doubt, it is factual that tech can never replace the need of quality teaching. But do teachers really need technology to make their teaching effective or can you be a good teacher without using technology? Krista Moroder- an edtech specialist at Ed Tech Coaching writes, “Good teachers encourage students to solve problems and take an active role in their own learning. They teach skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and curiosity. Good teachers know how to create learner-driven environments where failure is considered learning and persistence is an expectation. And good teachers don't necessarily need to use technology to do that.”
But in a debate organized in an e-learning conference, Richard Nelson, Lecturer in Teacher Education at Bradford College and Senior Fellow of the HE Academy says, “one cannot be a good teacher without technology.”
He gave three reasons for that, he says, “technology support to handle your work load as a teacher, helps in effective communication and then motivation, and support teachers in developing and creating better environment for both learners and ourselves (teachers).”
He further added, “we need to grasp this technology and make an effort to use and understand the use of something that is very helpful i.e. technology.”
One of the very crucial points he made here is teachers should make an effort to learn and understand technology. Today, not every teacher see technology as a great tool, there are lot of teachers who feel uneasy and anxious in the presence of technology. They hesitate to learn new things or get involved into it.
I believe what he is trying to say is that “Technology is a slave to a master called - purpose.” If the purpose to use technology is clear, good teachers will put efforts to achieve their needs and goals.
“My father, a professor at a local university, is one of those educators. He recently retired after 39 years of dedicated service. This past summer, he had been informed by the administration that all members of his department had to use a SmartBoard in their classrooms beginning with the fall 2012 semester. My father and the other faculty members were given one day of training and told they had to include the SmartBoard in all upcoming lectures.
This edict caused a tremendous amount of stress among the faculty members at my father’s university. Many of them felt that they were being rushed into using a tool they were unfamiliar with. My father and his colleagues believed the university administration had not thought the whole process through carefully enough.
This anecdote illustrates the fact that many school leaders are rushing to implement the latest technological advances without taking the time to familiarize all teachers with the applications.”
Well, this is the big mistake. Teacher’s proper training before implementing a new technology is necessary. Teachers are the driving force of education and have great power to motivate their students to learn through a specific technology, and if they are uncomfortable or do not feel motivated towards tech in education then how will they inspire their students?
Empowering teachers with technology is the great way to make them familiar with the technology and hence make them tech savvy. And once they become tech savvy, technology would just be tools for them and then they can easily use them and can refocus on what teaching means at that point in time.