Why Do They Need Us?
Today I re-watched a Ted Talk by Diana Laufenberge: "How to learn? From mistakes." Her message about learning from failure is a powerful one. But I'd like to focus in on only a very small proportion of her presentation. At about the 5:45 minute mark she spoke about when her grandparents, parents and even when she was in school. She used the words "information shortage". Today, she added a new set of words "information surplus". All of this lead to the following question, "Why do students need to come to school when they already have access to the information?"
Let's take a moment and take apart what I believe she meant.
- When our grandparents and parents (maybe even us) went to school the information we needed to know was hard to come by. We had textbooks, library and encyclopedias. But for the most part we got a lot of our information from the teacher. Let's just say they became the parter of the information.
- By "information surplus" I believe she's stating how easy it is for students to access information today. Let's be honest, how often have you Google or Youtube something you had no idea about? In a matter of minutes and even seconds the information was being provided.
- So if we see the role of teachers to be the parter of information like we did decades ago, "why do our students really need us now"? They simply use their devices.
Yes, I know many of you have already jumped to some answers to why they need to come to school. But before we jump to soon let's take a moment on the message here. How many teachers still see their role as the provider of the information? If you're reading this, your probably NOT one of those folks. But maybe if we all share Ms. Laufenberge point with those around us we could get a few more reflecting on the role they play. Maybe, even get a few to change.
Now, lets look at why they still need to come - IF we do our job.
- Who's going to teach students on how they can quickly access this information on those devices?
- Who's going to teach them to determine what is valuable or correct information vs. incorrect information?
- Who's going to teach them to be critical thinkers about the information so they can form educated good decisions?
- Who's going to get them excited about things they have no idea that they can be excited about?
- Who's going to open up the world to them?
The role of the educator is changing and some of this change is being caused by the development of new technologies each day. If we don't adapt as educators we are not preparing our students for their future!