Perspectives and the Future of Education

I really appreciate the comment made by Mike in the discussion we had the other day about technology and balance. After reading a number of comments that largely advocated technology use, he bravely voiced his concern, anchored by his perspective.

Great I can connect with people all around the world and learn about different cultures, places, things, and anything I want. I can become a person that has unmeasurable amount of knowledge about nearly everything, and share what ever I want with that same world. But when I run into a conflict with the person next to me I have no idea how to deal with it because I don't have the time to work through a text reply or research a solution on google.

Now don't get me wrong I believe there is a place for technology but I do believe we are losing something very important, like people and life skills. Things that can only be taught when face to face with a real live person.
I see emotion here, and concern - and between you and me, I think Mike's concern is shared by a large percentage of the silent majority of teachers that simply don't participate in these online conversations.

As I meet with teachers around my district, moreover, I'm learning that many of them feel passionately that the human, face to face element of teaching is something that can never be replaced. Ironically, many who aren't teachers, frequently contend to the contrary. Therefore, as we continue to deliberate over the future of education by considering some of the predictions that have been made (here and here, for example), I think we'd do well to consider every teacher, their perspectives, and how they might feel about all of this. On one level, I hope to do so now.

So tell me, teachers, what do YOU think?
  • As a teacher, does it scare you to think that in 10 years, your job may be outsourced to the "experts"?
  • As a teacher, are you excited to be "promoted" to that position wherein you will "coach students, conduct assessments, and create community?"
  • As a teacher, are you exhilarated to become your students' "mentor, problem solver, and support person?" Clayton Christensen and his co-authors seem to think you are (see also Chistensen, et al., 2008, p. 107).
  • Ultimately, as a teacher, are you willing to relinquish instructional control in your classroom to a piece of software or another instructor, possibly better qualified, but inconveniently located thousands of miles away?

From my perspective (and in spite of my proclivity for online learning), it's difficult to not see some of these views of the future as a "promotion" from "Teacher: Shaper of minds and molder of lives" to "Teacher: Glorified computer lab assistant". I know this is all dependent upon perception, but I highly doubt that I'm alone in mine.

  • Christensen, C. M., Johnson, C., & Horn, M. (2008). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Image Sources: Flickr users Rainer Ebert, and sfllaw.

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