Technology is a tool for education, not a replacement
It’s a constant battle to fend off those who want to use technology as either a replacement or implementer of policy. Technology is awesome—and those of us who are programmers are at a point in time when we can do almost anything we can imagine to empower people; however, many forget the EMPOWER part.
Technology is a tool used to augment a human’s value. In the classroom, technology allows teachers to better instruct students, better assess their progress and redirect where necessary, and better communicate with parents—but it is not a replacement for a competent, well-educated teacher. If we want computers teaching our kids, why would we need teachers? Because they add value—they can apply human emotions, understanding, and life experiences to educating our youth.
Unfortunately, many try to use technology to ‘fix’ everything—assess the students a few more times, rework the results until the results demonstrate what we want, and then repeat. If something isn’t right, the common answer, lately it seems, is to use technology to fix it, not the teacher. Teachers are left out of the picture (and many seem to want it that way—it’s less work) and place the students in front of a computer for assessment. The computer then prescribes (ala prescriptive teaching) what the student should learn and everyone goes about their business. A teacher who steps up and “prescribes” something different with a gut feeling or understanding of the student, they are simply told that they are wrong.
If a teacher cannot teach, but is simply a facilitator of prescribed curriculum, then what value do they add and why should parents send their children to school when they could receive the same education (sub the social effects) using the new “online” schools?
The only real reason I have continued my education is for the educators—the teachers that I’ve met over the years. I honestly can’t say that I’ve been affected by a book I’ve read or a lesson taught out of a manual, but I can attest that the personalities, the humor, the life experiences of some of my teachers and their passion for teaching will forever live with me.
To me, to go through nearly 20 years of school with a drone reading a lesson plan and not providing any human value, would be a horrid, horrid experience. I pity today’s children who are locked in this psychological box.