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Are Teachers Necessary in the Future?

So what I’ve been struggling with is the role of an educator in our society. While the idea of bringing the classroom into the 21st century is exciting, there are a couple of things that worry me. First, the financial reality of school districts is bleak. Classrooms with broken windows, falling ceiling tiles, leaking roofs – that is what I know. And these schools are located in decent suburban areas. In these dire times, how are districts supposed to provide technology for teachers and students to use? On the flip side, I have seen private schools where every student has laptops, iPads, and every other digital device. Because their families are wealthier, their children and these schools are able to take that step into the 21st century with ease. There is a huge disparity in the quality of education youth receive in our society under these conditions. So then what is the role of the educator? Are we supposed to assign homework to students centered around technology that they may or may not have in order to bring edu-punk into the classroom? Is this exciting era one that students from public schools will not even get to experience?

The second worrisome thought I have is will teachers become obsolete? Will technology and self-directed learning make teachers unnecessary? Many people believe the adage,

Those who can do. Those who can’t teach.

So maybe students will start learning from professionals in the subject area of interest. Studying chemistry directly from a chemist via digital media. Studying accounting from a finance guru in a mooc. Who knows what our future holds – will teachers become obsolete? I am going to a conference in DC on the future of higher education next week. Will K-12 follow suit? What is the role of an educator in our society, and what will it be in the future?

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3 comments on “Are Teachers Necessary in the Future?

  1. This worries me too! Eventually, will our jobs disappear. It seems to be heading that way. I know they will still need someone to create and monitor courses, but that still cuts many jobs 😦

  2. Let me throw another curve ball to this debate.

    I believe the educators of tomorrow are the ones who will make the current ones unemployed.

    Gloves are off, go! 😉

    • So last Friday I was at GMU for a forum on higher education. I went because Anya Kamenetz was a keynote speaker, and I am very curious about what’s going to happen in the world of education with all of these changes that are occuring. At the conference, I was not surprised by the reception that Anya received. She was invited because the president at GMU is really open to media and technology and wants to be a leader in the changing face of education, but the professors, the ones who had been there for centuries, are not on board with these changes. At the end of her talk, the one of the first comments was, “So you’re saying that we are going to be out of a job?” Anya handled the barrage of negativity fairly well, but I still felt sorry that her ideas were dismissed by most of the attending faculty and even some of the grad students that were in attendance. So, I do believe that the educators of tomorrow will be the ones who put the current educators out of the field. It’s going to be a very interesting thing to watch unfold because higher ed is only one area in the education arena.

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