It is likely in the coming decade that classrooms are going to undergo a huge change in their appearance. At this moment in time students seem to be caught in the middle of that change. The days predicted of everything being done collaboratively and on tablets or their equivalent has not yet arrived, and students today appear to be asked to fit an Apple or Android device into an already insanely full school bag.
being caught in the middle of this, or anything, is never the most constructive place to be and students now are experiencing the teething problems of introducing such a large scale change into a force as immovable as education.
I will set my position clearly, i think the possibility of using technology in the classroom is incredible in its potential. The ability to go on field trips in virtual reality for geography, to witness an AR heart beating for biology, to launch a mobile app to teach yourself a language, to be able to answer any question instantly all of this is huge, monumental even.
So whats the delay? As teachers we can be those agents of change or the harbingers of doom, and we certainly do not like to admit when we don’t know something. Yet here we are in a situation where there is a chance that the I.T lesson you are running already has students who have 5 apps on the play-store or are developing a game on their PC at home. How do we teach those students if we don;t have the skill sets to do so, how do we introduce technology when we can’t stop the alarm on our mobile phone. Frankly we do what we tell our students to do every day, we sit ourselves down and practice. I have heard and had passionate arguments from excellent teachers about how they can teach without using any technology, and that it is all a gimmick, and its difficult to argue.
Well it is difficult to argue until we think about want we are teaching them for. Is it to gain skills, to gain knowledge, to problem solve, all of them?
On a personal level i think i am teaching them to fit into a society that is becoming more global and more connected, that is using technology at an exponential rate. I think as their teachers we can influence how they view technology in their lives, we can demonstrate its not all about candy crush and games but what they have access to is an incredible tool, one for making themselves and their lives better, a way to view things from others perspective and exchange ideas in real time, a way to work with others on a shared goal, and a way to experience the world in a way only a few others can.
If thats not the role of a teacher what is?
Sometimes it not just students that need reassurances and assistance, it’s us as well.