We are in the technology millennium. Smartphones, Internet 2.0, AI, robotics, social media; technology is playing a domineering role in daily lives. Influence of technology on education rose exponentially after the pandemic. While the impact of technology on students has been debated a lot, little is mentioned about the teacher, the humble Guru, who is tirelessly working behind the scenes (or screen, in the online world) to ensure that ‘the show must go on’.
Edtech has evolved since the days when Khan Academy was considered ‘cool’. Now, there are thousands of ‘Mr Khan’ teaching students ‘live’ online. For students now, the ‘goto’ source for doubts is Google; instead of bothering either parents or teachers, they can either find the explanation online, or even talk live with experts. There are even apps that solve the entire problem, complete with step by step instructions, in seconds. A student need not go to a library, sift through books and journals for information. Right from Harvard, MIT to Stanford, content from the world’s best universities is available online, for free. Fast devices and faster broadband connection help to browse information and assimilate it onto neat documents.
All these technology advancements that are a boon for students have made life challenging for teachers. They face the problem of being undermined or outsmarted by technology. It’s now a game of ‘fastest finger first’ on who gets information first on a particular topic, teacher or student. And invariably, the student wins, more adept as they are at using the smart devices. Attention span of students in online classes has plummeted, as they easily get distracted and switch windows/tabs during classes. There is a constant worry that teaching as a profession is losing its importance and respect.
However, all is not lost for the teachers. The importance of human connect and the advantage of 1:1 interaction, will remain. Teachers are needed to build the content for online education and tutoring sites. There is a constant demand to make the content more ‘appealing’. The students and even parents prefer ‘live’ classes rather than recorded video sessions, which will mean more teachers will be needed. More and more teachers are embracing technology and donning the role of ‘online tutor’. Many others are the driving force and brain behind many apps and tutorial websites.
Teachers are donning the entrepreneur hat and getting ‘smarter’ at marketing themselves. Just as students have the world’s best sources of knowledge available at their fingertips, teachers now have access to an ocean of students globally; it will become a level-playing field, eventually. Teachers are more resilient and experienced and while they need time to adapt, they will emerge stronger and more learned in the end. In the long run, technology will equally benefit all the players in the education ecosystem.
Startup evangelist, author and blogger