The teacher and technology in education

As in any organization, effectiveness and efficiency are serious concerns in all learning institutions. They are subject to the same challenges that all managers and administrators face daily. The relationship between effectiveness, efficiency, and the quality of the product is even more telling in an academic setting. Inefficiency and ineffectiveness breed all sorts of undesirable results. Students do not learn, costs increase, teacher morale deteriorates, and the organization fails to adapt to a changing environment. One obvious solution to improving cost effectiveness, efficiency, and learning effectiveness is information technology. This however is a new modality that cannot be governed by antiquated rules or prepared for in the same way as before. More than technology, the most important participant is the teacher, who must shift from the traditional role of knowledge dispenser to knowledge facilitator. Teaching students to find, analyze, and use information is more important than the information itself. Teachers who are still trapped in the traditional lecture method may be less effective unless they reinvent themselves as curators instead of being sources of information. Students have access to unlimited resources that even their teachers do not know. Finding information is less important than using it.

The world outside is wireless, connected, digital, colorful, and in 3D. A student stepping into a traditional classroom for a three-hour boring lecture may feel stepping into an ancient cave after spending time in the video games arcade. Teachers should reinvent themselves to become facilitators of collaborative learning, mentors instead of instructors. They should learn to flip the classroom, blend learning, and gamify. School administrators should support faculty development that shifts teacher competencies from lesson plan and syllabus preparation to instructional design, from teaching to facilitating. Schools should provide the resources to reconcile subject matter expertise with educational technology.

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