The Role of Teachers in the New Technology-Predominated Learning Environment

New-Technology-Predominated1

According to the Economics and Statistics Administration – 36% of children in the USA have iPads before they can speak, and the number is increasing as parents realize and acknowledge the educational potential of new technologies. While there are issues, of course, what we should actually do is accept that technology will keep on developing, and focusing on its efficient implementation in teaching and learning has become the matter of utmost importance.

In this world of tablet computers and high-tech phones owned by 5-grades, what is the role of a classroom teacher? Has it remained the same or has it changed? If yes – how severely?

Since a huge leap made in technology development, reading has lost its importance as the unique source of information. While previous generations used libraries and textbooks, today’s kids are more likely to exploit their computers and get information faster. And why not? Being able to use technology successfully is one of the most needed skills nowadays, and this is exactly what teachers remain for (though it’s not their only function). We should finally agree and accept that there are more sources of information now than there were 50 years ago, yet those sources are worse in terms of reliability and call for more analytical skills.

Just like in the case with books, teachers lost their primary function as the sources of information. Their main role shifted to being motivators and supporters. Generally speaking, a teacher is now more of a psychologist, who has to feel his students and know the ways to lead and guide them in the process of learning.

Although it might seem controversial and hard to believe, in everyday learning process the new role of a teacher means teaching students how to use search engines properly and how to evaluate reliability of the information obtained.

The human factor, which was no doubt important before, has now become crucial, as no motivation will be carried out successfully without active interaction with students, and for that a teacher needs robust communication skills. Before, you had to be smart. Now, you have to be smart, and an excellent communicator, and have some psychological skills. Has it become easier for teachers? Definitely not. Has it become more difficult? Probably the right thing to say is that is has become more complex and diverse. Technology is a means that has to be adopted ubiquitously (which is far from truth now), and to achieve it, first we have to overcome stereotypes (use of Internet sources equals cheating) and embrace the new concept of high-tech learning.

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