Driver: Teacher or Student?
Tradition wisdom dictates that teaching ought to drive learning. If the issue is viewed through the lens of the future, the picture might look reversed. How students learn (learning process) in the next 10-15 years will largely determine how teachers ought to teach.
It is NOT the teachers, therefore, but students who will fix how the teaching is to be done to foster learning. This presumes that the education scenario will change significantly in the next decade or two. What is the rationale for this claim?
Let us consider two recent news items. First, Encyclopedia Britanica announced it will stop printing its iconic book sets (after doing it for 224 years); shifting the focus to digital encyclopedia and education tools. Second, Amazon.Com’s sale of e-Books surpassed printed books for the first time in June 2011.
These two developments are not to be lightly taken. Their significance is enormous as it points to the on-coming tectonic shift in education. The advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is not only driving the emergence of new business models, but changes every aspect of our lives, including the way teaching and learning happens. The emergence of e-books, smart phones, tablets, cloud services and apps are not fads.
C-gen students are embracing ICT at a speed much faster than most X-gen teachers. Learners have no qualms using e-books, smart phones, iPads, apps and Blackboard or Moodle. They are quick to embrace Web 2.0 tools like Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flicker as part of the learning process. On the contrary, teachers’ response to ICT leaves much to be desired. Many prefer the traditional chalk and talk or PowerPoint and talk model.
The Widening Gulf
The education sector is facing a widening gulf between teachers and learners in the use of technology. The constant innovation in ICT goes to further aggravate the gulf between the teachers and students. In the long run, the education system cannot sustain, if the teachers and students choose to live in two different worlds. The market forces will find its own way to bridge the gulf. The question is: How?
Teachers will be forced to change by embracing technology, though reluctantly. It will be foolhardy to expect students to go back in time and adapt to the traditional approach of teachers. There is, but, only one way to resolve the issue–teachers ought to change and align with the needs of students in using technology for teaching. Those who defy the change will be left high and dry, in the world of chalk and talk–talking to empty classrooms.
John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” He is absolutely right! The teachers do not have the right to rob students’ of the joy of learning by refusing to embrace technology for teaching. ICT will arm the students to their teeth, depriving the teachers of the luxury of teaching without technology.
The Future of Teaching
The future of learning is fast changing even as I blog this piece. Technology is revolutionizing the education industry. And students are at the helm of the teaching process because they control it through the technology-infused learning process. It is the students and NOT the teachers who will drive the future of the teaching.
What are your thoughts on this issue? I love to hear your views and comments.