Admittedly, most tech (including educational tech) moves and evolves at a frightening pace, and it's easy to see how many might be overwhelmed. There's always a concern that human beings will lose touch with one another, and overly-reliant on machines. We hear fear in the voices of presenters and participants at conferences, and apprehension in both the classroom and the boardroom.
While the classroom and training room are definitely changing, and with them, the roles of both educators and learners, we're pretty confident that we're not in danger of having hardware and software take over human roles in education. Here is a list of essential parts of education that just can't be done by a computer.
- No piece of technology can program its own curriculum. Deciding on learning objective, and what's important for learners to know and do, has to be done by a human being. Curriculum is a fluid, changing entity, one that's closely-linked to culture. A software package can produce randomized quiz questions, and can certainly help deliver curriculum in an engaging way, but essential decisions about what to teach and how to teach it are still the domain of educators.
- Tech can't assess who a learner really is, how they learn, and what they need in order to be successful. The definition of success itself is very much a human thing, and even once defined, can present itself in a multitude of different ways. In short, there's no such thing as a typical learner. The right tech can, however, contain a range of tools for reaching many different types of learners.
- A computer can perhaps teach by repetition and rote, but it can't provide discussion and dialogue. As true learning goes far beyond memorization and regurgitation, other humans are necessary both to discuss, and to keep discussions on track. In this case, tech can provide channels for communication, especially when teacher and learner aren't in the same room, or even the same country.
At the end of the day, tech, especially edu tech, is a tool. It serves to enhance, but not replace, the capabilities and reach of a skilled educator. The question should never be "Should we replace educators with tech?" but rather "Which kind of tech will help our educators achieve what they want to achieve?" It never hurts to turn a critical spotlight on our use of tech (in fact, tech literacy is considered a big part of 21st century learning), but it shouldn't be a source of panic.
Contact us to see how our learning platform can help you in the classroom, the boardroom, or the training room.