Friday, February 27, 2009

Teachers: Obsolete or Value Added

As I read one of my favorite Blogs, latest entry in a blog entitled The Tempered Radical by Bill Ferriter, I was hit with the reality that teachers are generally reluctant to engage with technology.
The idea that the face-to-face teacher will become obsolete raised its ugly head with the inception of the personal computer, but I am strangely shocked to fine that this fear is rising in this climate of change. Instead of considering technology a friend, it has been dubbed the enemy.

The purpose of the annual MetLife survey, The American Teacher, was to investigate how teachers are using technology to inform their own practice. Results confirm the huge gap between the digital immigrants, the teachers, and the digital natives, the students. Twenty-eight per cent of the teachers have read or written in a blog and a mere 15% have participated in a network community report in December 2008.

Principals rated higher on the MetLife survey with 42% having had a Blog experience and 22% participating on online social communities, still far from the 59% of the American students who have posted an artistic creation on-line and the 55% who belong to an on-line social community, 47% of whom have posted imaged or photos to share reported in the 2007 report Teens and Social Media sixteen months ago. Based on google stats, these numbers have soared exponentially.

Instead of promoting teacher use of technology, it is interesting to note that some school districts have rules strictly prohibiting any kind of social networking communication between teachers and students on pain of dismissal. Professor Dean Shareski suggests that the usefulness of teachers is declining compared to the usefulness of connections for students which brings me to my point that the teacher role is to help students learn to use the best tools available to them to reach the highest levels of logical, kinesthetic, linguistic, and creative thinking to produce the most advanced solutions, art, theories, inventions etc. Technology has added valuable tools, so teachers can do their jobs better!

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