The teaching profession needs to undergo fundamental change

200277130-001Are computers programming our children or are we teaching our children how to program computers?
I bought Miss11 an iPad for Christmas. She takes it to school and uses it for learning. Maths Games, Spelling Games and research are most of what she does in year 6. This is surprisingly good. You couldn’t motivate her to sit down with a pencil at 7PM on a Tuesday and do 100 fast-paced maths equations and some spelling – but she’ll protest if I withhold her learning device until she’s tidied her room.
I’m really pleased about this. She’s enjoying learning. She’s engaging her brain at a higher level and she’s very motivated.
But is that what these devices are best at? Is there more to it?
As a teacher, I first encountered BYOD about 5 years ago. It was dazzling, distracting and overwhelming. I quickly worked out that had a choice:
I could work out how I was going to integrate the laptops into my teaching – like using Microsoft Word instead of a 1B5.
Or I could take this as an opportunity to redefine teaching and learning. Did these devices unlock a whole new world of engagement, motivation, freedom and collaboration?
It’s not much different to introducing BYOD into your work environment. In many cases, it completely redefines your job. Accounts used to work with paper ledgers and pencils. This job is so different now that their roles (and responsibilities) are unrecognisable now.
Pedagogy is defined as “the art and science of education.” The teaching profession needs to undergo fundamental pedagogical change. The role of the teacher needs to be redefined. What we say. How we say it. What we do. How we do it.

Imagine if you were about to undergo open heart surgery. You’re being wheeled into the theatre when you’re informed that the surgeon is sick today, but ‘Judy’ is available. Judy was a leading surgeon in her time, but she hasn’t held a scalpel in 40 years. Your surgeon has left some notes for Judy and as an experienced professional she’ll do an excellent job.
This is a crazy notion. The medical profession has spent billions on research and development in the last 40 years. How can we expect anyone to walk straight in?
Switch that around and imagine that you’re sending your kid to school. Her teacher is sick today, but his grandmother is available. The bizarre thing is that teaching has hardly changed in 40 years. An expert from yesteryear would not be out of place in many of today’s classrooms.

“We can’t continue to teach as we were taught, when you do you rob children of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

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