Light Offerings

Humanity is in all our classrooms

Posted by jturner56 on August 6, 2008

Response to

Humanity lost in digital classrooms

Frank O’Shea August 01, 2008

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=8044

Humanity is in all our classrooms
To add value teachers have to work in, engage and understand the world we all live in. Whether we like it or not this includes ever changing, intrusive, digital technologies.
As a teacher for over twenty years I can attest that concentration spans are shorter, students (and others) are more demanding of personal attention and understanding, and that the myriad demands and opportunities that go with digital technologies is forever placing new demands on teachers, schools and education systems. As a teacher with and around computers there is not a day goes by when I do not see constructive interaction between students; deep, personalised learning; and approaches to using computers for learning that makes me confident our future will be in good hands.
The Federal Government’s Digital Education Revolution has both promise and danger. Already we are seeing bureaucratic machinations directing the relatively more easy decisions towards more machines serving the status quo. The economic, learning and structural implications are still to be worked through.
There has always been some who claim that machines can replace teachers, but the reality is much more complex. In time some part of teaching might be better facilitated through engaging, deep, transferrable learning through digital environments. But I believe the potential for human leadership, involvement and social progress will always involve humans at the core of the educational process.
To see school and teaching and learning solely in terms of past, industrial structures and expectations limits us all. We need to be willing to retain and build on agreed strengths, while adapting to the challenges and opportunities of the present, and supporting our student and teachers to take on the challenges of an uncharted future.
As L P Hartley wrote “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” What we do not understand we can fear, or seek to understand and respond constructively. How we respond as individuals and systems will be crucial to what opportunities we can provide for a better future. Denial. Division. Engagement. Collaboration. Risk Taking. These are some of our choices.

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