Technology and the Classroom

A question often brought up concerning the future of education is whether digital technology will substitute the teacher.  With digital technology becoming a fundamental part of today’s classroom, you often wonder what the future has in store and what the role of the teacher will be.

No matter the lesson, whether it’s language teaching or even STEM Education, the answer for the foreseeable future is in most cases ‘no’, technology will not replace the teacher, it can only assist the teacher.  After all, it is human coders who have created the software and human hands that have built the machines that run the software.  Digital technology requires human intervention and dexterity to handle the multi-tasking, as well as assessing the value of the tools for the benefit of the students.

But giving credit where credit is due, it is technology doing the time benefiting tasks, accessing the resources at breakneck light speed, which only benefits the teacher and the students.  And in the process, creating a proactive relationship that is shared with the classroom in the form of digital learning tools.

We are social beings.  The fundamental role of a teacher in the classroom is to foster a social environment of collaboration.  When the teacher forms a blended partnership with the best digital learning tools, the benefits help to shape a better experience, which in turn churns out the desired results, which is a highly productive class.

Interaction between the teacher and the students strengthens social learning.  Technology can assist by providing the means to free the teacher from mundane administration by providing information to the teacher of the student’s performance.  It can also help with the benefit of adaptive learning, where the tasks assigned to students adjust accordingly with student performance, helping to bridge and strengthen student learning and confidence.  Marking in most cases is done automatically, teachers are able to follow the assignments and observe their performance.  When weakness is noted the teacher can intervene and administer their experience and offer help.  Technology offers the option to reduce the administrative load off the teacher and give them more time for beneficial classroom teaching.

In most cases, students are more receptive to technology than teachers.  More than a few teachers feel threatened and others have misgivings with its real value.  This might stem from a lack of IT skills and an insecurity with not being able to implement it properly.  In the language classroom however, technology can play a highly productive role, provided the teacher nurtures the skills required to evaluate the digital tools deemed beneficial in contributing to the classroom.  By engaging proactively with technology, a responsive teacher will provide a unique central role at language teaching.  What better way to help shape a better digital tomorrow for everyone.