The Commentary editors asked six education, business, and STEM leaders to respond to the following question: What is missing from the discussion around ensuring all students have access to well-trained and qualified science teachers? To read other responses, please visit OpEducation’s Science Learning: Under the Microscope.
What I’ve seen missing from the discussion is the role technology can play in the evolution of the classroom teacher. As information becomes readily available in the hands of every child, learning is moving away from being teacher-centric to that of being student-centric. Increasingly, learning has become a personalized experience for students that teachers facilitate.
There is a tradition requiring educators to be the absolute subject masters of the concepts they teach; however, this tradition limits the number of available teachers for a given field like STEM or general sciences. True, there is no replacement for a teacher with a subject mastery, but those teachers are also a finite resource. New educational technologies empower teachers to effectively teach any subject, regardless of their personal knowledge of the subject.
With the right architecture and scaffolding students can teach themselves advanced concepts through self-learning programs. And by placing some of the burden of knowledge onto the tools, the teacher’s role can shift to that of the catalysts and facilitators of learning. Teachers can place more focus on providing 1:1 support with students and create learning environments that give each child equal opportunity to learning.
Vikas Gupta is the CEO and co-founder of Wonder Workshop, a company that creates coding and robotics tools to help students gain STEM skills through play.
The opinions expressed in OpEducation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.