Just a few weeks ago, I was talking educational technology with someone who's been in the academe for quite some time. And one of the topics we've discussed was how edtech will be able to change the way teachers work; especially with e-learning and learning apps available to everyone.
What was so interesting about our conversation was there seemed to be a lot of skepticism on how technology can impact the classroom. I guess it might be a natural reaction when there is a perception that technology can replace a workforce that is integral to nation and future-building.
As much as I'd love to put a footnote here, I think I've mentioned it before that there are no studies of Philippine educators' acceptance of educational technology - or if there are, they're not readily available. And these educators are a handful of friends, and is too small a group to qualify as a study. If you know any way of getting information on that topic, please let me know. I will forever be grateful.
With the way things are going in the Philippines, it looks like educational technology is up against very inconceivable odds. Now, add a little dash of skepticism and a feeling of intimidation to those who are supposed to implement it, then we have a recipe of a "failure to launch."
So, let's now get back to the conversation. I could not agree more with the seasoned educator's point: "Teachers can never be replaced with technology." Educators are an integral part of nation and future-building. Teachers are very knowledgeable in the different approaches and are trained to adapt to any situation that calls for learning inside the classroom. These are the reasons why they are professionals - and this is why teachers need to get their license through the education board exams (the LET - Licensure Examinations for Teachers).
However, come to think of it, these functions can still be taken over by technology. With a thorough database and through the use of complex algorithms that allow adaptive and personalized learning, the knowledge and skills above can be replicated by machines.
So, what is it that makes our educators indispensable?
It's the PASSION.
So what's my answer? Educational technology is here to help and equip teachers with new approaches to address the needs of ever-evolving types of learners. Edtech is here so that educators can craft lessons that newer generations of learners can find more interesting and more appropriate to their time.
Edtech is here to make educators more relevant in a high-tech world.
What we just need to do is to accept educational technology for what it is and leverage on what it can do for us, our learners, and our stakeholders. We just have to start somewhere...
And with that being said, I'd like to share this quote from Dr. David Thornburg, "Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer, deserves to be."