AN article on technology and pedagogy in StarEducate some weeks ago, caught my attention.
There has been strong interest in using technology in education and as a result, many institutions are investing billions of ringgit in equipping their buildings with state-of-the-art technology.
In today’s world, visuals that focus on futuristic classrooms and labs are often featured by learning institutions to woo their students.
I agree with the writer that we must never forget that in the end, it really boils down to the human factor — the teacher.
While many of us are in awe of the magic of technology and how it can be used as a teaching aid, where interesting and effective apps can be found and installed within minutes, there is still a need to have a teacher to “direct” the entire learning process.
This is a classic case of the “channel” and the “content”.
Technology can provide a very effective “channel” through pre-recorded lectures by experienced professors, 3D applications, as well as information that can be accessed through Google.
While technology remains the “channel”, the excitement, interest and encouragement is the “content” and that can only be provided by the teacher.
Having the latest technology without a good teacher will not make a lesson interesting.
However, having a good teacher but without the latest technology will not drastically affect a student as a teacher will find ways to spark the enthusiasm among his charges.
I have heard of a pre-university programme where students were told to view a video of a recorded lecture of 30 minutes for every lesson.
This was then followed by a teacher who explained the topic and answered queries on the subject.
Students were bored with the recorded lecture segment and after a few sessions, requested that they do away with the video while asking that the teacher be retained for all lessons.
We should not be too concerned about acquiring the latest gadgets or catching up with the competition; our focus should be on getting competent teachers.
The authorities should do their best to encourage, support and inspire our teachers.
The primary role of the teacher cannot be replaced by technology ... there needs to be human interaction.
WONG WAI LEONG Petaling Jaya The STAR Online Home News Education 01/12/2013