Will technology replace teachers?

Technology won’t replace your empathy for your students. It won’t have a conversation with a parent about something that their child did that day. It won’t go on field trips or sing a song out of tune. It cannot replace what has kept teachers in the classroom since the beginning of time.

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21century_logoby Elizabeth Goodhue

Skepticism

Sometimes, when marketing wants to sell our e-learning package, teachers meet them with skepticism. Is there really a lingering fear out there that they will be replaced? I am a teacher and the only thing on my mind about teaching is how can I make it effective? How can I engage students? How can I be sure that my students can make it in a 21st-century world?

Of course, teachers are skeptical

But they shouldn’t be. According to The Guardian, Classrooms will continue to change shape, but it’s safe to assume that there will be a human teacher at the front of them for a long time yet. Technology is a tool to help teachers do what they do best, not to replace them. Technology can enhance myriad 21st-century skills. Pick anyone of those skills from the graphic above and it can be supported with technology. But not technology alone. Students need mentors, guides, and models to steer them in an ethical direction.

Students need teachers

In a screen-centered world, students, now more than ever, need to learn how to collaborate, adapt and negotiate the world. Business leaders do not want someone who is proficient in responding to one-dimensional routine tasks that a computer generates to sell their product or negotiate business deals.

Schooling that trains students to efficiently conduct routine tasks is training students for jobs that pay minimum wage—or jobs that simply no longer exist. Justin Reich

Never Fear

When an e-learning company knocks on your virtual door, or your principal emails you a link to its product, embrace it, learn it, make it your friend. E-learning is here to stay because it will make your job easier. It will create and grade those standardized tests for you, it will do the research for you, it will engage your students with games and all of the bells and whistles that technology can provide. But it won’t replace your empathy for your students. It won’t have a conversation with a parent about something that their child did that day. It won’t go on field trips or sing a song out of tune. It cannot replace what has kept teachers in the classroom since the beginning of time. We know who we are and we know where we belong, no piece of technology ever thought differently because it can’t.

Teaching in the 21st-century classroom: Learning Port’s simple version

The Essential 21st-century Skills

The essential 21st-century skills include creative thinking and innovation, problem-solving and reasoning, global and cultural awareness, collaboration and technological literacy. Fortunately, we have the technology to teach these skills to the 21st-century generation. One way is through the flipped classroom.

The simple version of the flipped classroom

In the flipped classroom, students use valuable classroom time for creative thinking and innovation, problem-solving and reasoning,  global and cultural awareness, and collaboration. Instead of listening to a teacher lecture about a subject, students listen to a lecture to familiarize themselves with the content of the subject outside of the classroom.  The next day, they come to class prepared to apply their knowledge.

Bloom’s Taxonomy
blooms-tax-01-sbIf students are going to learn the essential 21st-century skills that we claim to be teaching them, they need to use their valuable classroom time to apply these skills.The classroom is a hotbed for collaboration and creative thinking. Teachers and students should not waste this valuable time passively absorbing information. They must exercise higher order thinking skills.

Here is what you should do

  1. Assign a module for homework. The advantages:
  • it takes less time than a classroom lecture and it is interactive
  • students with a short attention span can take a break
  • students learn the material at their own pace.
  • students can replay material that they do not understand
  • students can test their understanding at the end of the module
  1. Assess the student of the material before presenting the classroom challenge.
  • assign the assessment provided at the end of the module.
  • use the immediate feedback to gauge the students’ understanding
  • answer questions about the material before proceeding with the lesson
  1. Present a problem (a lab, a math concept, an essay. . .) that promotes
  • creative thinking and innovation,
  • problem-solving and reasoning,
  • global and cultural awareness
  • collaboration,

Now what?

The only thing left to do is try it. All of Learning Port’s  modules are aligned with the MOE curriculum guidelines so you can find a module that matches the lesson you want to teach. It might be an adjustment at first. You will have to figure out the timing, adapt the strategy to a student who may not have access to the Internet at home, but the students will reap the benefits from this positive shift from a passive approach to learning to an engaging and enlightened one.

E-learning defined

An e-learner chooses when and where he or she will learn, and how long he or she will spend on the lesson. The e-learner takes learning into his or her own hands and follows the principles of motivation, feedback, practice, and reinforcement upon which e-learning is founded.

by Elizabeth Goodhue

E-learning

When I tell people that I work for an e-learning company, I am usually met with a blank stare, or comments like, oh, so you are a teacher? I am, but I don’t teach. I work with a team of teachers, instructional designers, graphic designers and programmers to design modules for both learners who want to learn outside of the classroom on their own time and at their own pace and for educators who want to use e-learning to motivate their students.

What is learning?

According to Google, learning is “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.”

E-learning is “learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.

“Successful e-learning depends on the self-motivation of individuals to study effectively. ”

The key word here is learning. According to talentlms, learning is “acquiring skills to tackle not only today’s issues but to tackle tomorrow’s issues as well.” No matter how you define it, learning happens when we absorb information and retain it so that we can apply it to the world.

For the purpose of this article, which is to gain a general sense of the term, e-learning is learning from an Internet-based platform. An e-learner chooses when and where he or she will learn, and how long he or she will spend on the lesson. The e-learner takes learning into his or her own hands and follows the principles of motivation, feedback, practice, and reinforcement upon which e-learning is founded.

What is Gamification?

If you are a parent who is wary of an e-learning platform that promises gamification, never fear! When we learn, we absorb information; we manipulate; we make mistakes; we try again, and continue learning until we can apply what we learn to the real world. Gamification challenges students and parents to take an active part in their learning process by moving at their own pace and reaping the rewards.

by Elizabeth Goodhue

Gamification is not gaming

I don’t want my child to play games all day!

If you are looking for an e-learning platform to support your child’s learning, gamification is going to be a feature. If you interpret this term the wrong way, you might say that the last thing parents want their children to do is to play more games on the computer. But hold that thought for a moment.

Why is a child is willing to spend hours, sometimes entire weekends, in front of a screen playing a game? Your children love games because they get instant feedback and rewards. We, humans, love rewards. We are a competitive lot and when we can advance to the next level of a challenge it motivates us to keep going. It makes us feel better that we have accomplished something, and we have! The same is true when we learn.  Gamification gives students the incentive to succeed. So when you look for a strong e-learning platform for your child, remember that gamification is a good thing.

What is gamification?

Gamification has been around since the late 1800’s.  Originally, companies used reward systems to encourage people to buy from them and to build loyalty.

I am old enough to remember Green Stamps from the early 1960’s. They were all the rage with housewives. Whenever my mother filled the gas tank or went to the grocery store, she only went to places that gave her green stamps. Religiously, she pasted them into her Green Stamps booklet. When the book was full, she could trade it in for a houseware product.  It was hard to tell what was more exciting — filling the book or getting the actual reward. Essentially, every time she bought from the A&P or Esso, she would get a reward. She made a point of shopping there just so that she could get her just reward — a behaviorist approach to establishing loyalty!

Fast forward to the computer age.  Gamers were born! Marketers, educators, policy makers, and businesses followed suit. Why wouldn’t the benefits of the instant feedback and rewards that enticed gamers, entice buyers,  clients, and students as well?

Now gamification has spread to the e-learning field with outstanding results.

Playing games and gamification are not the same things

First of all, playing games and gamification are not the same things. There may be mini-games within the framework, but the gamification is the big picture. When you hear the word gamification in a sales pitch for e-learning, it means that students learn under a framework of gamification. The sole purpose of gamification is motivating and reinforcing student learning with feedback, rewards, and a chance to practice a subject until they master it.

How does gamification lead to mastery?

  • Immediate feedback

  • With gamification, students get immediate feedback confirming their response to the material with an explanation or a hint for the student to try again.  A ribbon displays the student’s progressive score as he or she proceeds through a module. At any point during the module, the student can review the feedback and try to improve his or her results.

  • Hard Evidence

  • Gamification provides hard evidence of student progress by collecting and storing a record of it. The data to measures the student’s success, how many attempts or how long it took to achieve it, and whether or not the student needs more practice to reach mastery. Parents who are curious about their student’s progress can access this data as well.

  • Reward

  • Gamification reinforces a sense of accomplishment for students who reach academic goals by boosting them to the next level of learning. Thus gamification rewards students’ with new challenges and activities while receiving badges and tangible rewards as well.

  • Active, not passive, learning

  • Learners learn by doing. Gamification stimulates learners to engage in what they learn rather than having to wade through volumes of overwhelming text. Gamification scaffolds a subject to make it possible for learners to accomplish simple tasks and build upon them to gain knowledge.

Never fear

pt3-gamificationIf you are a parent who is wary of an e-learning platform that promises gamification, never fear! When we learn, we absorb information; we manipulate; we make mistakes; we try again, and continue learning until we can apply what we learn to the real world. Gamification challenges students and parents to take an active part in their learning process by moving at their own pace and reaping the rewards.