Teachers can learn anything – could technology help?
Here at Cambridge Assessment English we’re often asked if digital technology can take over the role of the language teacher, and we always say ‘No’. Technology will not be teachers of the next generation, but it can be the assistant of the teacher, taking on an important role that can enhance the learning outcomes. Technology can take on tasks teachers are unable to handle because of a the lack of time or resources – and bring an immense value to classrooms. It is crucial for teachers to recognize that developing a positive, active interaction with technology can benefit both their students and teachers. In order to achieve these results Teachers must, however, to improve and keep up-to-date their understanding of technology for learning, and improve their capacity to critically evaluate technology for learning in order to recognize those that provide the greatest benefit for their students.
What can teachers do better than technology?
The primary role of teachers is to encourage the development of social skills. Social learning is characterized by interactions, discussions and collaboration between students. It helps create a positive, interpersonal learning environment. It requires an open and flexible approach that promotes interaction throughout the class as well as ensuring the ability to respond in real-time to individuals’ demands. Because this kind of learning is centered around applying knowledge it encourages higher-order thinking skills like the ability to analyze and evaluate, as well as when it comes to learning languages – the development of communicative skills. The current digital technology cannot facilitate this kind of collaborative and social learning as effectively as a teacher can, because these learning environments are heavily dependent on the personal connection between the teacher and their students. Technology, however, provides the learning material in an ‘atomistic manner, as teacher Philip Kerr notes, where learning is broken down into distinct “atoms” that (it is believed) eventually join to create learning. Technology today is unable to cope with the complexity and consequently, fail to deliver the benefits of’social learning’.