Education: Role of Technology and Teachers

Has introduction of technology in education diminished the role of teachers?

Early humans learnt by experience, usually through a process of trial and error.

The learning process involved observation, experimentation, and finally documentation for the benefit of later generations.

The method worked exceptionally well for millennia. Discoveries and inventions changed the fortunes of humans - the last century being an exceptional one. As the technologies evolved, the kind of expertise expected of humans also underwent a change.

Horse-drawn carts were replaced by automobile, typewriters were replaced by computers, and even humans were replaced by robots. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are the name of the game now and the world needs a new workforce capable of taking our legacy forward.

Technology is all-pervasive, and in the field of education, increasingly so. Analog has been replaced by digital and books by the World Wide Web. Google is the new equivalent of the famed libraries of yore, providing access to a wealth of information, mostly for free.

What is the role of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) in the field of education? According to Wikipedia, “(it) can contribute to universal access to education, equity in education, the delivery of quality learning and teaching, teachers’ professional development and more efficient education management, governance and administration.”

With wide adaptation of technology in education, what role do teachers play? Students are ‘connected’ all the time, with access to information at their fingertips. Does all this information gathering amount to real education? Have teachers been rendered obsolete by technology?

Absolutely not. Technology and teachers complement each other. For teachers, it is just an enabling tool to harness the learnings - at home, classroom, and increasingly, online.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to promoting ICT in education, and are of the view that access, inclusion and quality are among the main challenges they can address.

Teachers figure prominently in UN body’s mission of A Teacher for Every Child: Projecting Global Teacher Needs from 2015 to 2030

To read the full report, click here

Technology has its place, but teachers have a greater role to play. The mode of education may have changed or changing, but the spirit of learning remains the same, with the teacher playing a central role in the moulding of character and building of moral and ethical values.

And that’s fact that is never likely to change, ever.

“Every child should have a caring adult in their lives. And that's not always a biological parent or family member. It may be a friend or neighbor. Often times it is a teacher.”

-       Joe Manchin, US Senator