By Madam Grace Pinto, MD, Ryan International Group of Institutions
Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in the usage of technology in every field and education is no exception to it. Academic learning with constant upgrading in tech-tools has become seamless and productive. This is mainly because schools and institutions put in tremendous efforts to make a timely transition to adapt to the virtual learning platforms for effective delivery of their lessons. Technology played a very important role in the absence of physical teaching during this ongoing health crisis. It is obvious that the usage of various technology platforms for the virtual classes have replaced the actual physical classrooms and books have been replaced with e-books, PowerPoint presentations, documents and so forth. Technology has definitely eased the work of both teachers and students. However, will technology provide a valuable experience that educators offer in a physical environment? ‘Can technology replace physical teaching?’
A teacher is not just a facilitator of knowledge but he / she is also a mentor, a guide, a friend and a role model for the students. While teachers are adept at providing experiential learning and customized solutions to the students, technology trumps in providing quantifiable analytics, accurate assessments and result oriented solutions. Here are a few aspects that highlight the role of a teacher and technology and what they offer to students.
- Emotional Quotient – Teachers by nature are concerned about the emotional wellbeing of students and are well trained to observe them on a regular basis. Whether it is on the online interactive platform or in a physical classroom, teachers as mentors are trained to handle different emotional issues that students face. Technology can only provide different ways and means through which teachers can help students to deal with their emotional turmoil.
- Insights and Guidance: A teacher gives personal feedback and guides students based on the years of experience she /he has acquired. Whereas, technology can help students by assessing data to come to a conclusion on what needs to be improved upon. But in order to get a detailed analytical insight about the students progress, a lot of information needs to be fed in or for a pattern to be created and mapped, the assessments have to be done on a regular and continuous loop. While a teacher tells the students on how he/she can improve their scores or focus on their areas of weakness through their personal interaction with students, technology helps in making the learning process far simpler with wide access to multiple learning points as well as to chalk out a more result oriented approach.
- Inculcation of Values: Teachers understand the importance of inculcating basic human values unlike technology. A young child needs to know and understand the importance of basic values in life which teachers can impart to them through moral education, thus helping them to be socially responsible citizens of our society. Teachers encourage students in their journey and decision making process. Technology on the other hand cannot instill these values among children directly but it can help by providing teachers with ideas to instill these values creatively.
- Access to Helpful Information:Technology has given students an easy access to helpful information beyond the geographical boundaries. It has opened up doorways for additional reading and research on learning concepts. Although technology is not bound by any physical barrier, teachers and educators play an equally important and crucial role to guide and direct students toward the right resources and monitor them and their learning outcomes.
What we perceive is that blended learning is the way forward in the segment of education. Technology does play a vital role in enhancing the teaching learning process and as an integral part of education it is here to stay and revolutionize. However, holistic development through extra-curricular, one-on-one communication, experiential learning and school activities with teachers as mentors will continue to remain an extremely integral part of a child’s education. Technology has made a lot of data and resources available to everyone, but it needs an expert to guide the students through the maze and navigate through all the resources. A teacher can help the child to do that. Today, teachers on their part have no other option but to use technology fruitfully and effectively. Technology will remain a helpful tool for them to enhance their working efficiency and transform the entire educational experience. In this context, Bill Gates has aptly said, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”