Technology and the role of the teacher

I just got an iPad. Hooray! You, dear readers, are reading my first blog post created on a tablet device. I am sure it’s not as much of a highlight for you as it is for me!

And of course that means that my classroom will be instantly revolutionized, right?

I jest.

I have heard people make the flippant comment that technology is making the job of the teacher null and void. Personally I believe that’s an irresponsible statement to make. Technology is programmed. As much as we are labeling products as ‘smart’ they still can not replace the power and wonder of the human mind that created and programmed them.

Likewise, a computer cannot replace a a teacher’s human face. What it can do -and should do – is enhance the experience of education and learning for all stakeholders, and change the way a teacher does things. It is a pedagogical tool, not a replacement for an educator.

As teachers we are called to help students learn new skills that allow them to learn, create, question and connect through technology. If we are allowing a device or a search engine to do our job for us then we are doing our students a disservice. Nor should computers or tablets be used to simply do things that could be done with paper and pen. It is about how we engage our learners with technology in order for them to learn things they could not necessarily do without it.

And let’s not forget how creative kids can be with a bit of paper, pencils, cardboard, and craft materials. Tactile learning away from the screen is important as well. I was pleasantly surprised this week to watch how enthusiastic my Year 8 Italian classes were about creating presepi, traditional Italian nativity scenes. See some of their creations below.

So, let’s embrace the use of technology as a pedagogical tool, use it to change and enhance the work that we do, but maintain the face-to-face connection and hands-on activity that human beings have an innate need for.

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