Technology and teaching: How the Internet opened opportunities for education
MANILA, Philippines – As technology evolves, so does our realm of possibilities.
Take education for example. Just a decade ago, the path to become a teacher was very narrow. You take up a degree in education, apply to be a schoolteacher, and conduct your classes with readings and manila paper visual aids in tow.
But these days, teachers have access to more sophisticated tools that can break the monotony of everyday lectures and facilitate the learning experience in different ways. In the modern age, teaching is no longer limited to the physical classroom.
Adapting to any learning curve
Any experienced teacher can tell you that no two people learn the same way. There are visual learners, auditory learners, read-write learners, and kinesthetic learners. And because all these types of learners are mixed in one classroom, teachers need to be able to find ways to accommodate these disparities.
Through aids such as projectors and presentation software, teachers can now make learning a multi-sensory experience through the use of photographs, diagrams, videos, and sound files. This not only diversifies the learning experience for learners, especially those with short attention spans, but it also keeps them on their toes.
Technology also makes access to learning tools easier. Teachers can make use of course management tools like Canvas to upload and organize resources such as syllabi, assignments, or readings. Teachers can even choose to share their presentations or record their lectures. While this might seem a little generous on the teacher’s part, studies show that sharing recorded lectures doesn’t negatively affect attendance. Learners appreciate the opportunity to review lectures at their own pace.
The new classroom
What’s more, teaching and learning are no longer isolated to physical schools. Thanks to technology, a new venue for learning has emerged – the virtual classroom.
With the rapid growth of Internet adoption worldwide, people are now connected in ways that were previously deemed impossible. This opens new doors for people to learn and teach.
Imagine teaching or attending a class from the comfort of your own home. No more long commutes to campus. No more 8-hour school schedules, 5 days a week. No more piles and piles of paperwork that need to be submitted or checked – just your laptop and a stable Internet connection. Technology and online teaching afford both learners and teachers the luxury of time and flexibility. It saves on resources, and builds 21st century skills.
The way online classes work is not entirely dissimilar to a traditional classroom lecture; it is still a teacher imparting knowledge to a learner. The differences lie in the context.
The benefits of online teaching include one-on-one supervision, as it’s usually one teacher to one pupil. So teachers don't need to spread themselves thin by integrating many different teaching methods in one class; instead, they can adapt to the learning style and learning curve of every pupil and make use of different online classroom tools. These include a virtual whiteboard to write, draw, and even highlight certain words, as well as a chat box feature. Another benefit is flexibility, as teachers and learners alike can choose to have classes depending on their availability.
Mainstreaming online learning can also expand the variety of material on different subjects. For example, one girl learned how to dance from watching YouTube videos:
Online, anyone who is skilled and passionate about a particular thing can teach the subject matter of their choice. Many Filipinos, for example, choose to teach online English classes because of our deep familiarity with the language.
This setup even provides other opportunities for teachers who, for example, are pursuing other ambitions while still wanting to teach on the side.
The full potential for online teaching in the Philippines is still yet to be realized. But knowing that there are options for Filipino teachers to teach outside the classroom is eye-opening and uplifting for those who need it. So if your passion is to teach, keep in mind that there are different tools to help you and channels that are open to you. These days, being a teacher isn’t limited to lecturing in a classroom or an auditorium. A career in teaching is only a few clicks away. – Rappler.com