By Jenny Gunn
We see that in this modern age, technology is replacing everything. We do not need papers and pens, as software can be used to write on; we do not need physical books since the advent of e-books and PDFs. So, can this modern technology replace teachers too? Is this technology sophisticated enough to teach children, even when they are sitting at home? Is the need of human teachers being eliminated? Let us talk about some of these questions that might have drastic implications for our education system in the long run.
This is an ongoing debate and you will find numerous articles on this issue. As there are always two sides of an argument, you will find two sets of arguments in this article too; one arguing that the technology will replace teachers, while the other indicating it cannot.
Technology Can Easily Replace Teachers
You might have seen many online courses offered by numerous top universities and how this has opened doors for students all around the world as now they can study whatever subject in any field they want from their homes.
It was after the introduction of these courses that the debate about this topic got started. Now that the students have an access to all the resources at home, what is the need of the physical presence of teachers, right?
Moreover, we see more and more use of computers in the classrooms. We see social media is being used in learning environments, we see children using multiple apps to help them in their studies.
Now, let us talk about some points from the other side of the debate. Although technology is helping a lot in the learning environment, it has not completely taken over the role of a teacher.
Technology Cannot Replace Teachers
Technology is merely an augmentation to a teacher. It can help the process of learning, but it certainly cannot replace the role of the teacher.
Even in online courses, we see that teachers are necessary to give lectures, whether in the form of videos, tutorials or via Skype sessions. Children still need to learn computers, which of course are taught by teachers.
Students need teachers to direct them in learning hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mechanics. Moreover, in order to learn critical skills like decision making, time management, etc. a child needs a teacher, as the technology cannot teach these human skills.
It is also important that we remember a teacher is more than just a facilitator of knowledge; a teacher also acts as a guide, a mentor and an inspiration for students, a role that cannot be replaced by technology of any kind.
After reading both the sides of the argument, it is quite clear that technology is assisting students in their learning and it is playing a crucial role in the field of education. But, as of now, it does not have the power to replace teachers because human interaction cannot be replaced by computers and human skills cannot be taught by technology. However, it is also important that modern teachers become aware of the new technologies that can be used to enhance the learning environment.
Author Bio: Jenny Gunn is a prominent freelance writer, with numerous published articles to her credit. Currently, she is a member of Writing Servce AssignmentDone.co.uk’s brilliant writing team. She loves to write about fiction as well as non-fiction topics. For more, follow her at Facebook .
Over the last decade, the number of people taking online courses and therefore using technology as a tool to enhance their education has increased dramatically. You can now master a foreign language or complete a whole degree without leaving the comfort of your sofa. You can decide not only when you want to learn but also how you want to learn. Meanwhile, the range of technology used inside the classroom has also boomed, with the rise of smartboards, digital textbooks and, most notably, the tools offered on the Internet. But what does this continuing growth in education technology mean for teachers?
While many teachers are excited by technology and interested in the ways in which they can use it to enhance their teaching, others are concerned by its rapid development and wonder whether they themselves could eventually be replaced. At Kognity, this is a question we are frequently asked and recently one of my colleagues brought to my attention an article in the Guardian about just that: Can technology replace teachers? As an employee of an “Edtech” company, I often think about this question, and reading the Guardian article made me reflect on my own teaching experiences and wonder whether teaching and technology are mutually exclusive.
What does technology do for us?
Walking into a classroom in Thailand for the first time with 50 students staring at me while I realised I only had myself and a chalkboard to keep them engaged was intimidating. Think about having no access to a computer, no videos, no projector, not being able to make copies, having to enter all your students grades by hand … The list goes on. In a geography lesson, we can now transport students to explore another country, while in an English class we can take them back in time to experience Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed during his lifetime. Students are able to watch videos at home that explain how to use algebra or allow them to see first-hand the life cycle of a plant. Technology doesn’t discriminate based on a student’s ability or skill, but instead provides an opportunity to engage students using a medium that they recognise. Lest we forget, technology is growing not just within our classrooms but also in our everyday lives, so it is therefore natural that we should increasingly incorporate it into classrooms.
Great technology requires great teachers!
Crucially, as the Guardian article points out, the use of technology in the classroom doesn’t lessen the need for great teachers. In fact, it is great teachers who make using technology so significant in students’ education. Whilst technology is able to take on a whole host of tasks, it does have its shortcomings – most prominently its inability to interact with humans. Technology can therefore facilitate the learning process but it cannot replace the role of the teacher. As Vivienne Collinson points out in a study for the College of Education at Michigan State University, “Computers do not teach children to question, to discriminate among sources of information, to weigh perspectives, to think about consequences, to bring contextual meaning to a situation, to be creative, or to make careful judgments.” Teachers impart students with life skills, valuable life lessons and inspire them to reach their potential. A teacher is so much more than a facilitator: they are also a guide and a mentor. Without a great teacher, technology merely becomes an automated tool and stops inspiring and engaging students. Ultimately, it isn’t about teachers being replaced by technology but how teachers can adapt to incorporate technology in their lessons.
The question of whether technology will replace teachers is an age-old debate and one that is likely to continue as technology evolves further. In the same way that the calculator didn’t replace maths teachers, technology will continue aiding teachers to educate well-rounded and engaged students. At Kognity, we realise that promoting the use of technology in the classroom is only possible by coordinating effectively with teachers. As our CEO, Hugo Wernhoff, notes, “We’re not only in it to offer flexibility in time and place for students, or lower costs for providers. Our main ambition is instead to deliver better learning.” Technology can only assist in delivering better learning when it is used by a great teacher. Teachers’ roles within the classroom will inevitably change as the resources at their disposal develop. However, as many before have noted, students will always benefit from the guidance and instruction from a teacher at the front of a classroom.
What do you think about the changing role of teachers in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below!
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Author: Abigail Bryant
Abi is Head of Support at Kognity, where she works closely with teachers and students getting them set up and ensuring their experience with Kognity is a great one. Previously she worked as an English teacher working with International Schools in South East Asia.