What Is Teacher Talk In Online Learning

From social media to online courses, teachers are figuring out how to digitally communicate with students.

The world is fast-paced, ever-changing, and tech-savvy. At the same time, as a nation, we are concerned about the effects of workplace automation.

I want you to envision a future in which your job — the job of your generation — is eliminated.

We’re live in one of those worlds already: the industrial age. Because of automation and advances in AI, fields such as factory production have been consolidated into just a few large, global companies. And because of this, wages have been declining.

Even so, automation has yet to completely replace human labor. True automation, in which software systems do the work of human labor with fewer and fewer human input, remains some decades away.

Wages, however, are at a historic high and will continue to rise.

Most importantly, while automation has the capacity to replace workers and jobs, it never will completely replace humans.

While we’re still right around the corner from a fully robotic workforce, it’s our jobs as educators that will turn out to be the ones that are inevitably lost.

Time and again, this country has shown that it’s committed to a higher education — to providing our young people with the skills they need to succeed in the global economy. And college and school systems are responsible for getting students ready to sit for the upcoming standardized tests, in preparation for their post-high school future.

With all of this in mind, the world doesn’t just need better, higher-quality schools, it needs better, more effective schools. And that means improving the way we teach, making the interplay between schools and the workforce a much more focused concern.

So what does this mean?

First, let’s realize that teachers are the ultimate bridge between learning and the workforce. The nature of work has changed, as social, scientific, and technological fields each open more space for teachers to impact our society and our country.

And it means our generation needs to be best educated possible, with higher-quality teachers who have access to the most up-to-date tools and information, not just about education, but about the current job market as well.

What do all these mean? First, we need to improve the instructional content that we use in schools to improve our students’ access to the realities of the high-tech economy. Much of that has to do with focusing on writing more effectively. Lesson plans that focus on reading, writing, and critical thinking as viable skills are great — the problem is we often think of our students as data readers when they are in the classroom.

If I had to list only a few examples, none of them are nearly as exciting as some of the problems we have that shouldn’t be ignored. Take our K-12 K-12 online learning programs for example. It’s an area where we as a nation have clearly lagged behind our peers around the world. These programs have shown little progress in real world use in places like Tokyo and London, and no gains in Utah. There are serious obstacles in the way, of course. They range from internet access to time management, to the fact that educators often face a culture of teachers being rewarded for the quality of their own teaching and their own approach to things.

But some experts have sounded the alarm, arguing that online programs simply won’t work for students in rural, suburban, or economically distressed areas. We can’t continue to leave the majority of our students outside the grasp of online courses. And so, we need to push forward with teacher mentoring — to help our educators connect with their peers in schools in non-urban areas as well.

We also need to consider the real economic effects of the elimination of our jobs in the workforce. All of the talk of new technologies and AI overlooks that such changes will hurt many more people than they will help, and education should be an area in which we should try to make up for those lost jobs and economic losses.

The constant that will guide our future decisions are our children’s education — the education that makes them ready to thrive in a fast-changing job market and help us live up to our ideals.

Crossposted from the Washington Post

The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sun Sentinel.

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