An Argument for the Presence of a Teacher

I came across a very interesting post this morning from Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette at College Ready Writing entitled "What Ed Tech Can't Do."  She compared Fahrenheit 451 to the influence technology is having in the classroom and in education in general.  The part that struck me was about how "the [technology] movement in education as analogous to industrial farming."

Of course, this caught my attention.  As I begin to use more and more technology in my classes, I felt my nerves fire up and I was instantly on the defense as I continued to read.  But, I was pleasantly surprised at how she took her thoughts and really made an extremely compelling case for the absolute necessity of a teacher in the class room.

From her post:

Next fall, I will be integrating a lot more technology in my classroom, in part because of forced standardization and accountability. But part of it is trying to make my class more effective. My job is to teach, but it is also to coach my students, particularly my developmental students. It's to disrupt their worlds in order to encourage critical thinking or knowledge creation.

The part I want to focus in on is where she says it is her job to coach and disrupt their worlds.  I love that she is stressing over the fact that it is still her job to teach.

It is so easy to fall into the technology trap...just throwing some hyperlinks on a page and telling students to "go."  That isn't's laziness.  The difference is when a teacher throws some hyperlinks on the page, asks students to go learn, but then brings them all back to create a working schema for learning.  Technology is a tool...a very powerful tool that can create the illusion of active learning.

Don't get so caught up in the technology that we forget to be present for class.

4 thoughts on “An Argument for the Presence of a Teacher

  1. Sarah says:

    “Technology is a tool…a very powerful tool that can create the illusion of active learning.” —I can’t agree more. I think it’s pertinent that as quickly as technology evolves, our classrooms, strategies, and focus follows. For children to be prepared for the demands of our global society, they have to be able to understand the function and role of technology. I’m glad that there are other teachers who are striving to (EFFECTIVELY) use technology in their classrooms as an effort to give kids opportunities that may not have been present before. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only who is actively pursuing technology and thoughtfully encouraging active learning moments.

  2. Audrey says:

    I teach math online, so I have to use technology just to communicate. But I also use it to connect with my students, most of whom I never meet face to face. I am finding that using things like voicethread, blogging, and googledocs helps to reveal to me who my students are and what they are thinking. I can only imagine the impact these would have in a brick and mortar classroom, where things like eye contact and body language are a given. I just can’t imagine any teacher not taking advantage of these tools!

    By the way, Mr. Bennett, I will be trying to flip my classes soon, although I will have to adapt to the online class. Sarah, what’s the little grey thingy in the upper right corner of you post – a qr code?

  3. Audrey says:

    lol thanks – now I see I have one too! Feeling silly now….

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