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How is Technology Changing the Role of the Teacher?

Posted on 04/16/2018

Advances in technology have meant a world of change in schools. Yes, proponents of “disruption” tend to argue that students are basically sitting in time capsules from the industrial era, but technology has made schools look and run very differently, both on the operations side and the instructional side.

Computers, laptops and other digital devices have become commonplace in most schools nationwide, changing the way students get instruction and complete assignments. Computers have also digitized student records and taken a whole host of school processes to the cloud. This has created new risks and led to the founding of new departments focused on the safety and security of all this data. It has also created new efficiencies for schools.

Phil Dunn, the chief information officer of Greenwich Public Schools in Connecticut, said during a panel at the NY Edtech Week global innovation festival last month that the cloud has made a big difference in his workflow.

In discussions about increasing the role of technology in schools, questions are often raised about the long-term role of teachers. While some worry that ed tech proponents advocate for sidelining teachers, panel advocates disagreed, saying teacher skills will just need to change. For example, Jonathan Supovitz, director of the Consortium for Policy Research I education at the University of Pennsylvania, said there will be demand for teachers who are more sophisticated about looking at and responding to student performance data.

Satya Nitta, an inventor and program leader in IBM’s cognitive computing for education division, said professional development will have to support this additional responsibility for teachers in the future, but he said the responsibility isn’t theirs alone.

“Simple software engineering principles about how we present information and insights can go a long way toward making the technology seamless,” Nitta said.

Many districts have been focusing on exactly that. They want teachers to be teachers, while data analysts do the extra work to support them. And that balance may be just what schools need for the classrooms of the future.

Source: The Hechinger Report External link opens in new window or tab