Given the obvious educational gaps created by the pandemic, it is no longer acceptable to function as an educator without being equipped with advanced 21st century technological skills required to support and aid efficient learning delivery and proper understanding in classrooms, vis-à-vis distance learning. As technology and globalization transform our economy and civic sphere, school administrators and educators must rise to the challenge of preparing students for an ever more complex and cognitively demanding world.
Technology is continually changing the way we work and play, create and communicate. So, it’s only natural that advancements in digital technology are also creating game-changing opportunities in the world of education. Students around the world need advanced skills to succeed in the globalized, knowledge-based world of today. For teachers, technology is opening up new possibilities to enrich and stimulate young minds. In a world in which technological disruption has become a daily occurrence, the only antidote is reinvention. To remain valuable and relevant as a teacher, lecturer or a player in the education space, you have got to be updated and equipped with the latest available digital technologies to boost your market value in the rapidly advancing digital world. This is why we strongly believe that successful technology integration in schools requires ongoing, sustained professional development.
In recent times, rising interest in educational technology has led to the emergence of special programs, workshops and boot camps that are designed to prepare educators to shift into an innovator’s mindset and become transformative technology leaders in their classrooms and schools. These programs are structured to impart a comprehensive understanding of the tools used in educational technology, the theories and modern practices that are essential for such technology-enhanced programs to deliver on their potential to inspire student learning, achievement and creativity. However, most of the teachers who should pilot the reaffirmation of utilization of technology are rather consciously or unconsciously find themselves opposed to it. Many offer the excuse of cost of data, electricity amongst other seemingly cogent reason but truth be told if they cease to prepare themselves for the current migration to total embrace of technology in teaching, they will have no option but to be relegated into the archive league of tutoring. Often, it is said that technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace those who do not, eventually.
New technologies can, and no doubt eventually will, replace many of the routine administrative tasks typically handled by teachers, like taking attendance, entering marks into a grading book, etc. Standing at the blackboard in front of the class and methodically writing out dates to memorize and new vocabulary to learn — such manual activities can often be done much more expeditiously through using projectors and basic presentation software. Machines (perhaps even “teaching machines”) may also handle some of the routine, low-end cognitive tasks (e.g. posing multiple-choice questions and grading tests) that teachers currently perform.
That said, while routine administrative burdens on teachers may (eventually) lessen, and some routine low-end cognitive tasks may gradually be taken over by software, the introduction of new technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, artificial intelligence as well as gamification and presentation tools, typically means that “more” is asked of teachers, not less. The development of the types of so-called ’21st century skills’ — problem-solving, critical thinking, cross-cultural communication, etc. — as well as a variety of non-cognitive skills (such as grit and mindset) are increasingly considered to be important to success in academics, and in life. To a great extent, these are the sorts of skills that teachers, and not machines, are uniquely able to help students develop. But doing so is not easy, and often requires more highly capable teachers than many education systems currently have. Being able to utilize new technologies in support of their teaching, and to keep up with technological changes, challenges teachers to continue to learn themselves.https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/10-hallmarks-21st-century-teaching-and-learning
The increased availability of data on student performance as a result of utilizing new technologies, with their ability to track student activities in ways simply not possible when ‘assessment’ meant an occasional test using pencil and paper challenges teachers to absorb these data and modify their teaching in ways that are most useful to their students, both collectively and individually. New technology and new learning models are exciting and offer previously unthinkable possibilities to students, but they require constant IT support. As educational institutions continue to jump on the bandwagon and adopt these digital transformation trends, we must consider the current paradigm for technology instruction and move toward a team-based approach. As student expectations increase, responsiveness to those needs must increase as well.