Who needs a “teacher/professor” anymore?

I’m taking editorial liberties with the title of the article at Macleans, as I think the thoughts in the article can apply also to K-12 as well.  Through the use of easily obtainable technology we can certainly move education from the receive and regurgitate model (a.k.a. No Child Left Untested) to one where students actually use their learning and knowledge to solve problems, and one where we engage them in their own interests.  Yes, it’s messy and all the answers don’t fit nicely on a bubble sheet – but do we really want a generation of kids who only know what they are told and can’t make their own decisions?

Wieman has oriented teaching methods away from memorizing facts—a method that Wieman says was made “obsolete since the printing press”—and toward complex, problem-solving exercises with an expert approach, facilitated by the faculty. “Now, you look in the classes,” he says, “and instead of students sitting there text messaging, falling asleep or not showing up to class, they are engaged.”

I especially like this bit in the last paragraph:

So what role is left for the teacher? To be effective, Wieman says, they must be “cognitive coaches” rather than conduits of information. Rankin believes that the change in pedagogy will happen soon. “It’s comparable to the introduction of a light switch,” he adds. “It’s just going to take a while for people to figure out what this looks like and how it works.”

Good stuff – read the whole thing.


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Who needs a “teacher/professor” anymore?

by Ron Houtman time to read: 1 min