Dr. S S VERMA
Role of a teacher in society building has always been advocated just like any other champions of society but it seems to be facing a serious challenge at present with the ever increasing availability of internet to students and changing attitude of students and parents towards education and its outcomes. Old fashioned teaching and learning techniques are not only drawing criticism from students who are at present well equipped with online teaching materials in the forms of lectures, ppts, problems & solutions, exercises with all facilities of taking pictures and downloading to their smart phones which they think can help them as and when they need it. The educational system is constantly being challenged to offer better and effective education to people, at the same time as technological development continually opens up new possibilities and methods of learning.
Senior students in second and third grade technological institutions of the country are generally arguing that they do not need teaching from teachers particularly in the final years as they say that either teachers are not well prepared, not competent enough and are confusing and thus they (students) only lose the precious time in classes which they could have made use for preparing for job placements or competitions along with learning on their own much better than what the teacher will teach them. With the digital era catching up so fast with students, most of the students in higher learning intuitions in particular have smartphones with unlimited internet access and they say that they have plenty of information available on the internet on almost all topics. No doubt, technology allows students to become more independent in the classroom. Making use of technology to allow students the freedom to discover solutions to problems both independently and collaboratively is a force for good. Well equipped with technology, today students are not ready to write on the note books what the teachers are writing on the black/white boards and supplying reading materials to them. Instead they are eager to take pictures or record the lectures on their smart phones or ask for copies of power point presentations etc.
Whether a teacher like it or not but he cannot resist the use of technology in the class room when all the excuses and advantages are being put forward by the smart generation of students for the use of technology. As internet is an easily available source to the students with all the details of latest knowledge, developments and explanation on every topic, therefore, today teacher has to be competent enough with latest knowledge, explanation and use of the topics which he is teaching to students and not only downloading the material from internet and making one way presentations to students in class rooms. Teacher should not lag behind to students in order to update his knowledge base on the topics he is going to teach in the class. There are many ways in which technology can be used in the classroom to engage students and facilitate exciting, engaging and interesting lessons. Allowing the freedom to search and discover the subject through technology will definitely foster a love for the subject. Besides, a teacher allowing himself the opportunity to do something new and using technology as the tool can open up a cave of treasures that hooks the attention of the student and once we have that it can lead the students anywhere.
In the digital era, the role of teacher can be more effective, if along with teaching and learning a teacher is also addressing the social and emotional issues that can affect learners’ learning, and be ready to make changes when the learning seems to be going ineffective. The teacher has a responsibility to help promote learning preconditions such as working habits, attitudes, knowledge and motivation. Thinking through various teaching methods and assessing which possibilities they offer for learning is not just important, but also challenging for the teacher.
No doubt digitalization of education system has tremendously helped students in their study and research. Technology should be used with a plan that how it is going to aid the learning of students not that how it makes teaching comfortable. If it isn’t going to aid teaching and learning then it shouldn’t be used at all. Try and discover what works best for the students which can aid not hinder student’s progress.
There is no doubt about the importance of teacher in this digital era, but the question is if the teacher is skilled enough to assist their students in learning technologies. It is extremely crucial for an online teacher to be more skilled, knowledgeable, and efficient in comparison to the normal one so that he/she is able to answer the questions raised by the students. Technology is evolving every day; therefore, they must have the desire, time and ability to grasp new things more quickly or equivalently as compared to their students. In this web-based-learning culture, technical skills and critical thinking are equally important for a teacher, so that they can think out of box. In this digital era, teachers carry huge responsibility and in order to deliver those responsibilities they need certain set of skills. No doubt that if teachers lack technical expertise, they cannot contribute more in their student’s growth in the 21st century. If the teacher has all these qualities, then he/she will be capable of:
* Facilitating better learning in the classrooms and online environments
* Effectively utilizing digital media tools to enhance students’ ability
* Using global education platform perfectly for regular update
* Working with students and help them to grasp new leaning opportunities
* Acting as a mentor and along with teaching and learning is also addressing the social and emotional issues of the students
* Be ready to make changes when the learning seems to be going ineffective.