rev·o·lu·tion

ˌrevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/

A dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people's ideas about it.

Ever since technology has been applied to learning, there have been expectation for new technologies to replace teachers and hence "revolutionize" education. Television, radio, computers, the internet, tablets, smartboards, adaptive learning platforms...all were introduced with a promise to replace the need for teachers or tutors with something much more efficient and effective. But if there's one thing we've learned over time, it's that such claims tend to fall flat on their faces. Although each new technology contributes to the overall toolbox at our disposal, none has replaced the men and women who have mastered the educational craft.

When we consider how education works, we need to understand that the way an individual learns best it very specific to that person. How groups learn best is a much more complex matter altogether. Technologies can help educators connect to the masses, and in that sense have revolutionized the reach of education. Technologies can help engage people in a number of different way—video, audio, animation—and in that sense have Locker-Thumbrevolutionized the format of education. However, when we think about "the masses" in education, one of the largest factors that determines efficacy is motivation.

Effective educators must tap into and harness a student's motivation to learn, grow, and succeed. This task is exponentially more difficult when dealing with a group of individuals. Of course, there will always be a segment of students who are motivated by the intrinsic value of knowledge or by the tangible benefits of a good GPA, SAT, or ACT score, which may win them scholarship money for college. But no technology exists (or may ever exist) that can match or exceed the ability of a skilled human teacher to determine what the motivating factor is for each student and translate it to learning.

The job of a teacher is to make a connection with a student and interact in a way that fosters learning and comprehension of material. The teacher creates an environment in which learning can take place. Although technology has given teachers more tools, it has not revolutionized their fundamental interactions with students. Learning has always been largely social experience—or at the very least has always had a social component. The teachers are the stewards of the social process, their charisma the medium through which most students find the motivation necessary to do the work of learning. It's highly unlikely that a singular technology will ever be the "magic bullet" that truly revolutionizes education.

Here is a great video that examines the issue further.

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