"RE@L Thought for the Week!" Vol. 5 - November 9, 2017 - "EdTech Minus Teachers? or EdTech Plus Teachers?"
EdTech has been around for almost 50 years in classrooms everywhere. Computers were worming their way into the business world everywhere. Why not the K12 educational world, too? The answer to that vexing question is still being sought.
The classroom computer back then made most teachers highly uncomfortable. The computer gurus saw it differently: After all, if the Jetsons TV show back then had a computerized robo-maid named Hilda, why couldn’t kids in school have a computerized teacher?
Teaching isn’t rocket science, they thought. Well, it turns out that it ‘s close. And in more ways than one. And it needs to be taught to the teachers first. We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Classrooms everywhere were changing in the 60′s. Desks were no longer bolted to the floor. Inkwells were gone. Chalkboards were being replaced by overhead projectors. And, computers were being designed to help deliver instruction to young learners everywhere.
Teachers began to wonder, “Am I obsolete? Will a computer replace me?” A whole lotta shaking and worrying was going on at the teacher’s desk. The futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, whose screenplay brought us the sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, gave us this quote: “Teachers who can be replaced by a machine should be.” Futurist David Thornburg later took it a bit closer to home: “Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be.”
So, stop worrying, teachers. You’re still in charge of teaching and using the tools that go with it these days. But, like your students, you need to learn more, too.
Today, schools and districts everywhere are putting computers and mobile devices into virtually every learner’s hands in every classroom in America. So, why aren’t we seeing signfiicant improvement in teaching and learning, you ask?
The answer is: Far too few schools and districts provide adequate teacher-training and support to use these new EdTech tools effectively. If the teachers haven’t been taught how to use them effectively, how can the students use them?
So, let’s teach the teachers. Give them these new EdTech teaching tools, but make sure they also get the needed training: resources, lesson planning ideas, quizzes and project ideas to insure greater student learning and mastery.
That’s what we at RE@L are doing to make this change happen! We are creating new EdTech tools that insure more real-world learnng.
The sky’s no longer the limit.
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