Tuesday, 22 August 2006

A simple question to start the year1

by Doug Johnson at Blue Skunk Blog

He is responding to an email to him:

I was wondering if you agree or disagree with this quote, and why: "the more powerful technology becomes, the more indispensable good teachers are."

Doug pointed out the underlying vision of policymakers is to "teacher-proof" education by technology and the quote is the opposite of that vision. Who's wrong here, I wonder?

Another point being noted is what do we mean by "powerful technology", technology to handle our daily life, or information and communication technology or instructional technology? We have rapidly developing nanotechnologies, medical technologies, ICT and so on, but we don't have any instructional technology which does not depend on human teacher yet! [For those in instructional technology field, if you think your work in sequencing and copywriting material is instructional technology, I am sorry to say that you are wrong and you do not deserve to be called an instructional technologist!]

Information and communication technologies help us to find, locate and retreive almost any information from anywhere in a fraction of time it used to be. The role of teacher being an authorative source of information has long gone. The role of teacher is to help learners to bring that information "across the boundary"2 and integrate that information into a holistic world view. As Doug puts it, the teacher's role becomes process expert rather than content expert.

A comment of Dough's post raised another interesting viewpoint:
Perhaps the more powerful teaching becomes, the more indispensible good technology is.

1 When I read the title, I was a bit confused and double checked the date. How come it is the start of the year when it is middle of August. Aha, it is the start of school year in the Northern hemisphere! [I am too world-centric and have forgotten that 8-15-2006 is not the eighth day of the fifteenth month in year 2006.] :-)
2 See my views on this: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7.

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