While sitting at a recent sporting event I overheard a group of parents talking about all of the technology their kids are using in school today. One of the people in the conversation—a school administrator—made a comment that truly resonated with me:
“Students know more about the technology they are using in the classroom than the teachers do. Classroom management can really be affected by this because at the end of the day the teacher seems to be the one on the end of the learning curve.”
The examples of good and poor use of technology to buy lab reports inside the brick-and-mortar classroom are plentiful. As February comes to a close and spring fills the air, these same parents, like many others, are going to reflect on this conversation and start searching for the best choice for their children. That choice may involve something different from the same public offerings where the students are teaching the technology to their teachers.
As Jeff and Kate Dunn point out in a piece published by Huffington Post, Technology Will Not Replace Teachers, “Teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike are being told that technology is the whetstone with which we can all sharpen our education system. Technology can open doors, expand minds, and change the world.”
They continue, “As much innovation as the iPad may bring to the classroom, it is not going to replace a teacher anytime soon. The modern teacher must be willing to take chances and able to figure out how not just how technology works, but how it works for each student, and where its use is most appropriate.”
Teachers such as the one described above are 21st century educators—professionals who have adapted to the technological transformation that has taken place in online learning. The dynamics of education are transforming via the Internet and ever-expanding technologies.
The case could certainly be made that an online education, coupled with extraordinary teachers, is a solution for transforming 21st century education. The question of whether or not technology will replace teachers should be read more like a statement: Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who do not embrace technology and use it efficiently and effectively within the classroom will find themselves falling behind.