The 3 things edtech can’t do illustrate why teachers matter now more than ever

Did you ever believe technology would replace the teacher?

I just read this article by the Christensen Institute. And the answer to my question is, of course, no, we never dit. Nobody working in school ever considered replacing the teacher with technology. We all know that there are a lot of systems that are made to help the teachers in their work. They are made to take lower-order work off teachers’ plates. Good systems will show us the data we need, will suggest lesson plans for our students like in a Spotify playlist, tailored to every student’s needs, talents, interests, and level of competencies.  It is a great idea to use the data in a safe and sensible way and at the same time, we need to be careful with how data is used. I hear about schools where they have video surveillance in every classroom. To me, that is a scary thought. And I just read about the system they have in China. A true nightmare. Source: Nordic business insider

  • China plans to rank all its citizens based on their “social credit” by 2020.
  • People can be rewarded or punished according to their scores.
  • Like private financial credit scores, a person’s social scores can move up and down according to their behavior.

Based on this system they can ban you from travel, slow down your internet speed and make sure your kids can not attend the best schools. Source: Nordic business insider

Let’s rely on data and use it wisely, but let’s rely more on the teacher. Here are some areas from the above-mentioned article!

1. Technology can’t … provide higher-order feedback

Software is great for generating immediate, automated feedback on students’ mastery of basic knowledge and skills. Software cannot give feedback on many of the qualities that really define great writing—such as whether the students’ rhetoric and logic will resonate with her intended audience. It takes a human to give feedback on the more nuanced aspects of human communication.

2. Technology can’t … get to know a student

Software can make a lot of useful inferences based on patterns it finds in the data it collects. But it can’t collect data on all the important factors that shape a students’ learning experiences, nor can it model all of the psychological complexity of childhood and adolescence. Real knowing and understanding is a human-to-human experience.

3. Technology can’t … care about a student

Where do students get the motivation to learn? At times motivation may come from pure intellectual curiosity. But more often than not, motivation comes from relationships. A student becomes excited about science because a teacher who cares deeply about her also cares deeply about science. Students often work to learn and to achieve for the praise and approbation of people who matter in their lives. Software, for all its wondrous abilities, can’t offer that sense of genuine caring.

But teachers can’t …

The article ends by saying that even if the teachers can do all the things listed above, they rarely have time to do it all. It is a matter of capacity. Meeting regularly with each student takes time. That is where the block scheduling we have at our school may help. It is easier to make sure you talk to every student if the English class is from 08:30 -1:10 pm on Mondays as it is for me.

Edtech used wisely can help free time for teachers to tailor the learning to each individual students and to build strong relationships. Like using a suitable learning management system for instance.


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