The next technical step forward in teaching looks likely to be a digital one. In fact, many teachers whose classrooms have increasingly become home to tablets, VR headsets and touch screen whiteboards will attest that it has already begun.
The number of ways to teach using computers and digital technology is increasing and the digital skills gap is growing wider. As a result, teachers, schools and governments are working to become familiar with the new ways of teaching that come with modern technology. Sometimes teaching in this way can feel like an enlightening leap forward and at other times it can feel like a desperate game of catch-up.
A giant leap or another step in the journey?
There has been a lot of excitement in government over the digital revolution and the importance of educating the next generation to make the most of it. Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced a £500m fund that will accelerate digital initiatives including those in mainstream education with the aim of preparing Britain’s digital economy for the future. Every opportunity to give the learners and doers of the next generation new choices and ways to excel through technology is welcome.
The question is, is teaching really any more on the brink of a ‘revolution’ right now than it ever is? Is it rushing forward faster than previous generations thanks to technological advances and economic demand? Many IT teachers who worked back when ‘cutting edge’ came in the form of a big white box with a two-foot-deep monitor on top of it will tell you that their subject felt like it was going through a revolution then. Physics teachers who taught through the moon landing and home economics teachers of the fifties will, no doubt, be of the same opinion. In fact, you will be hard pushed to find a teacher who can’t think of many examples of when they felt their subject was undergoing profound change.
A journey of giant leaps, a culture of revolutions
Perhaps it is more accurate to say that teaching is an ongoing series of giant leaps, one after the other. This is, in part, what makes teaching such an attractive career option. It can rarely be described as monotonous; children are always changing, the society they are being prepared for is constantly evolving and techniques progress.
Today we are part of the digital revolution, perhaps tomorrow we’ll witness a new creative revolution or even the AI revolution. Only one thing is for certain; nothing will stay the same.
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