Once upon a time I entered the field of education as a wide-eyed optimist. As with most 18-year-olds, I was wildly idealistic. If I put my mind to it, I thought, I could learn all the educational theory and developmental psychology I’d need, along with tricks of the trade. If I worked hard, I would be able to deeply impact the lives of children growing up in poverty.
Here we are, many years later with an article in The Atlantic whose title alone gave me what Italians call agita--indigestion and stress: “When the Computer Takes Over for the Teacher,” by Michael Godsey. What?? This is a cruel joke, right?
Apparently not. “We’re at the point where the Internet pretty much supplies everything we need. We don’t really need teachers in the same way anymore,” says Godsey, an English teacher from California. “The relatively recent emergence of the Internet, and the ever-increasing ease of access to web, has unmistakably usurped the teacher from the former role of dictator of subject content,” Godsey continues. The old saying about teachers being more of the “guide on the side,” as students explore curated content, is more relevant than ever.
Yikes. What does that mean for today’s dedicated teachers? Does it portend being replaced by trained technicians? Are traditional teachers, who actually teach students drawing upon their vast knowledge base, soon to be as outmoded as the wooly mammoth? !
In today’s world, from online lesson plans to Listen Current, a website that compiles the best of public radio, teachers are integrating more of the Internet’s wealth of resources into their practice. In so doing, are they contributing to their own obsolescence? I sincerely hope not. I prefer to think that teachers are taking the best of the best, and integrating these resources into their curricula—in ways that only a passionate educator can imagine.
We’ll take a look at some of these tools in my next 3 posts...
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.