Will Richardson says that teachers urgently need to redefine their professional role in light of advancements in technology and prevailing expectations for schools. If teachers’ main purpose is seen as improving student achievement as reflected in test scores, he argues, they will soon be displaced, for all practical purposes, by technology. To punctuate his point, he highlights a new data-driven personalized learning program being developed by Pearson. “Technology,” he adds ruefully, “will soon provide a better ‘learning’ experience to kids needing to pass the test than a classroom teacher with 30 (or 50) kids.”
Thus, to avoid being reduced to technical support staff, teachers have to put forth an alternative vision of schooling and instruction oriented around “inspiration and inquiry and joy in learning.” Richardson writes:
We have to be about the thing that technology cannot and will not be able to do, and that's care deeply for our kids as humans, help them develop passions to learn, solve problems that are uniquely important to them, understand beauty and meaning in the world, help them play and create and apply knowledge in ways that add to the richness of life, and develop empathy and deep contextual understanding of the world. And more.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.