I was interested to see that a Megan Grummitt, who is going to be a school teacher in Queensland Australia wrote a blog post about my post Computers Will Replace Teachers, and Here’s How. She brings up some good points so I wanted to reply in detail.
I am honored you mentioned my blog post on your blog! I see you disagree with me, which is certainly ok with me. Since it seems you are involved with becoming a teacher down there in Australia, perhaps I can invite you to look deeper at this topic?
I noticed that in every single one of your blog posts so far you mention looking up information online, ie: “google it”. It appears that you learned quite a bit doing that. Was a teacher involved? If no teacher was involved, who facilitated your learning?
You can achieve this learning by means of your own personal ICT right? Yet, you state “What I do understand however, is that ICTs definitely belong in the classroom, purposely used by the teacher to help facilitate the learning of the students.” You use personal ICTs in the rest of your life and yet in the classroom are you claiming you only want the teacher to have them? I am unclear. These technologies are integrated into student’s lives now, do you favor banning them in the classroom for students?
I love the way you put this next sentence together. “Rather then children being passive recipients of information given to them by the teacher, teachers facilitate student learning through a student centred learning environment that can encompasses many different pedagogies based on the needs of the students within the class.” So many questions. 🙂 Who determines what the students will learn in a particular day? If it is the teacher, then it is not student centered. Does each student get a choice of various learning methods for each topic? Can they choose to watch a YouTube video or read a book about it? What if they want to use a robot? Is there more variety of learning material in the classroom, or at home when they are using their own devices?
You also quoted another teacher who states that computers can’t replace teachers because of the Human Factor. This teacher states “good teachers inspire our young people to be lifelong learners, creating a culture of independent enquiry with their enthusiasm and passion.” I agree completely that there are some fantastic teachers out there who can change the course of a child’s life (google Rafe Esquith). However, what percentage of teachers are at that level? What happens to all the other students who have only average, or below average teachers? There are teachers who actually create a bad relationship with students and put them off school completely. It happens a lot. Just remember, unless you are talking about private schools, a student is in a classroom with a particular teacher, not because they would be a good match, but because they live nearby and got randomly assigned. There is no pedagogy involved at all, it’s just chance.
Let me finish by saying I have great admiration for anyone who wants to become a teacher. It’s a very hard, often times thankless job, where you have the opportunity to shape the life of a child. I was a teacher for 11 years at university but even then, I saw things were changing. I encourage you to keep an open mind because what is hard to imagine today will be commonplace tomorrow. To quote Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast”. 🙂
Good luck with your studies!