“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”
Growing up I was that kid who always sat in the front row of the class, homework complete and hand raised to every question (almost). I was that kid who spent the summer vacations going through all the problems in maths text books, reading thorough the all chapters in the literature books, and ready and raring to go the first day back at school. So needless to say sometimes the actual in-class interaction with the teachers and the assignments seemed a bit mundane.
It was also the late 1990s and the internet was not yet widely available to everyone, so the only way to get more out of one’s education was to read more books than that prescribed by the official syllabus. But even then, those that were privileged enough to have access to the internet (even if it was through a painfully slow dial up) were beginning to have an advantage and an upper hand – in the knowledge they could access, the awareness they became perceptive to and the world they could reach.
The world today in contrast is very different. Technological advances in the 2 decades since then have led to 100-times growth in the use of internet. Content is now available online in all forms imaginable – text, pictures, sound, audio and any combination of these. And what started as a research medium for the most elite universities and government sectors, is now the natural medium of teaching from elementary schools to doctorates.
Technology has made it possible to conquer all physical barriers by creating virtual access paths. However, as Bill Gates said – “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
It therefore becomes not just important but imperative that teachers today make use of the vast resources and teaching tools that are available to them online. Teaching today is as much about learning yourself as it is about imparting knowledge to one’s students. Online learning platforms such as Khan Academy and Udemy have proven the effectiveness of technology in reaching young and old minds alike.
Technology has allowed us to tap into resources that are far beyond our physical reach and become aware of teachings that are diverse and innovative. The growth of social networking has put the capability to share ideas and information at the tip of our fingers. A teacher who is willing to embrace this tool and harness it’s power, will be doing the great service of providing students with the guidance of an entire community of teachers, instead of just the one they see in front of them. And when you are greeted with a new person in your interaction with your teacher each day, a student like me will never find the exchanges mundane ever again.