Balancing Technology and Teachers

When transforming education from teaching systems to learning systems, technology will most likely play a part. We have to remember, though, that technology isn’t the answer, it’s the tool. It’s a great tool but it doesn’t replace teachers. We will always need our teachers.

And our teachers are not simple facilitators to get in, get the computers going and get out of the way. Teachers are valuable. But they’re not the answer.

Classrooms are delivery rooms for learning. Content and information is shared with learners through engaging ways that moves the information from mere content to knowledge in a learner’s mind. Learning is revealed to the learner.

Wisdom is taught to learners. We need teachers sharing information and teaching wisdom. We must be transforming classrooms and transferring wisdom to generations of learners.

When we develop our strategies to transform education, whether it be in our districts, on our campuses or in our classrooms, we have to use the three architectural agility equations.

These are 1) the classroom agility equation, 2) the engagement agility equation and 3) the instructional agility equation.

The agility equations focus on three variables of learning systems. The classroom agility equation is for the school leader. The engagement agility equation is for the teacher and the instructional agility equation is for the learner,

The first equation (classroom agility) that school leaders must resolve is:

The balance of technology and teacher for each classroom.

Each day, children are in a classroom and information must be delivered. Technology and teachers can be leveraged to provide the best learning environment. The learning experience is characterized by a blend of these primary delivery models. Teachers can provide so many distinctive, engaging and creative teaching strategies. Conversely, technology can do the same.

So, what’s the answer?

So often, we consider strategies and plans across the board. We purchase equipment and initiate the usage the same for every classroom and every teacher. It’s a district thing.

So, everybody is going to get on board and do this. But if we truly personalize education, should we not also know that every unique teacher will most likely have a unique approach to their classroom?

And, just as everyone has strengths and weaknesses, gifts and abilities, expertise and experience, personalizing everything (including the teacher) to leverage those elements based on the uniqueness of the educator in the classroom can have the most benefit.

Now, the teacher doesn’t make these decisions. The school leaders should. Just as we expect teachers to personally know every student, we should expect the school leader to know every teacher. Being able to see the system as a personalized learning environment, the school leader should be able to create the best blend for each classroom individually.

That’s classroom agility. The first agility equation falls to the school leader, whether it be a superintendent, principal or school director. Transforming from teaching systems to learning systems can be done and there’s a way to plan it, train it and implement it successfully. It falls to the school leader to address classroom agility.

We will address the second agility equation (engagement agility) next time.