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 teaching…it’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.

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