Considered as a threat, technology is described as the tool that would replace the legendary know-all human actor in class, the teacher. The co-existence between teaching and technology has always been the core of most education based discussions. Hence, educators are painted ‘as an unnecessary aspect of learning process’ (Catone, 2009) in the future. The reason behind such a concern is that ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) or AI (Artificial Intelligence) intrusion in is sharply replicating teachers’ best behaviour online. In an interview with The Guardian, Third Space Learning CEO, Tom Hopper explains that what Tech Ed companies are interested in is,‘ the right blend of human and artificial intelligence in the classroom – identifying that sweet spot’ (Devlin, 2016). This passionate debate can lead us to review the raison d’être of educators in 2oth century. In other words, questions about the quality of prospective teaching performances and their effectiveness should be addressed promptly to secure a more dynamic and meaningful role for instructors in the age of technology.
Teachers and Globalisation
Globalisation, as a universal world order, developed a set of notions on the effectiveness of educators in the future. On a fundamental basis, teachers should have a global perspective in mind. Thus, and in the same way as in the economic sector, instructors should show high-quality teaching and a competitive spirit. Further challenges were highlighted through the prioritisation of ‘teaching ethics’ (Sahlberg, 2004) that should go beyond the traditionally defined model. With this in mind, instructors will be involved in entrepreneurial teaching in order not to be marginalised by new changes in pedagogical practices. As a result, a shift from a transmitter of knowledge to a more flexible business person like actor in the school is more favourite. So, head teachers are more in need of instructors who show skills such as risk-taking and decision making in order to face schools’ daily challenges.
Pedagogical implications have also contributed in redefining the educators’ status quo inside educational institutions. The introduction of palm devices led to the emergence of new teaching methods. As a consequence, there is a high demand for the adoption of appropriate content knowledge with technology-based approaches such as ‘Technology, Pedagogical Content Knowledge ( TPACK )’ (Dias, 1999) framework. By doing so, teachers will be aligned with the education market value. In addition, they will help in the sustainability of their countries respectively. Although there is a global interest in keeping teachers actively implicated in the education system, very little is known about the how, when and with whom should the above new mould be applied.
Teachers and Future Skills
Sir Michael Barber (2013), former Chief Education Advisor for Tony Blair, believes that the emphasis should be on the quality of teachers. Indeed, due to a shortage in the teachers’ workforce which was caused by the increase in “population growth and expanded access to education’ (The UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006), the quality of the delivered knowledge noticeably decreased. To meet this new situation, educators are encouraged to ‘rethink the ways teaching and learning are organised in schools’(Sahlberg, 2004). By doing so, they should for instance show more flexibility, promote collaboration and creativity and act as the facilitator in the classroom. To put it differently, it is a more learner-driven approach where the teacher would gain different responsibilities in order to meet the student expectations. This flexibility in teaching would also be noticed in managing the class in particular and school in general. It can also move from a fixed presence in an institution to a more mobile and interactive responsibility with multiple educational organisations such as higher education. Thus, a flip in the roles of both teachers and learners is highly expected.
Éva Ujlakyné Szücs (2009) explains that instructors’ adoption of new traits should also be bound with the mastery of technical skills. Again, the omnipresence of the ghost of technology replacing teachers is undoubtedly one of the most feared threats. Therefore, educators are encouraged to undertake professional development training in order to gain the right skills. Being updated on recent ICT trends, most used social media and commonly used IT materials would give them an in-depth view on learners’ main daily concerns. In addition, it can help them elevate the students’ engagement and involvement in class. Furthermore, ‘interactive media environments and immersive learning games’ (Berry, 2010) have already given new online performances for instructors. Widely present on the internet in the last decade, there is a boom in collaborative websites where teachers share their practices like in busyteacher.com. Sharing their best tips and trick with other unknown colleagues shows their readiness in using ‘tools like experience beaming’ to spread’ (ibid) their know-how, globally collaborate and network with other educators.
Teachers Socioeconomic Status
The idealistic image of teachers, who are assumed to embody best traits and know all about life, is vanishing or being replaced by a more democratic perception of their role in society. The traditional structure of the profession will greatly change and ‘a wide variety of virtual professional learning opportunities’ (Berry, 2010) will appear. As mentioned earlier, the mobility of educators in performing in more than one educational institution will be possible. Add to the professional socialisation which impacts enormously on their career path.
Probably the only resistance in the future would be towards the assessment system. New IT tools will be introduced to assess instructors’ effectiveness. The reliance on such technology would also be relevant in the recruitment stage. This may lead to distrust between policymakers, schools and teachers. Such a split would widen the disengagement performance of educators, as it is expected now.
Teaching, as a profession that existed for ages, is now in the spotlight due to the introduction of technology. A global demand in raising educators’ skills is very necessary so that ‘tomorrow’s schools will be designed to meet the needs of the information economy’ (Levine, 2016). However, there is no clear image of the future teacher. Most of the academic literature speculate about the most desirable characteristics instructors in the 21st century should have, probably because they failed in demonstrating them. Online assessment of teachers’ performances may be another danger to the stability of the schooling system. Hence, ‘the whole thing become toxic…it is really important that we do it right’ (Devlin, 2016).
Berry, B. (2010) The Teachers of 2030: Creating a Student-Centered Profession for the 21st Century. Center for Teaching Quality.
Bush Foundation (2013) Sir Michael Barber – Education in the 21st Century.
Catone, J. (2009) What is the Future of Teaching? [Online] [online]. Available from: http://mashable.com/2009/08/31/online-education-teachers/ (Accessed 1 January 2017).
Devlin, H. (2016) Could online tutors and artificial intelligence be the future of teaching? The Guardian. 26 December.
Dias, L.B. (1999) Integrating technology. Learning and Leading with Technology. 2710–13.
Levine, A. (2016) Wanted: Teachers With The Skills And Knowledge To Succeed In Today’s And Tomorrow’s Schools. [Online] [online]. Available from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/12/21/wanted-teachers-with-the-skills-and-knowledge-to-succeed-in-todays-and-tomorrows-schools/ (Accessed 2 January 2017).
Sahlberg, P. (2004) Teaching and Globalization. nternational Research Journal of Managing Global Transitions, 2(1), 65-83.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2006) Teachers and Educational Quality: Monitoring Global Needs for 2015. [Online] [online]. Available from: http://www.ungei.org/resources/index_798.html (Accessed 4 January 2017).
Ujlakyné Szucs, É. (2009) The role of teachers in the 21st century. Sens Public.