By Ms. Kareena Bhambhani
English Educator - Podar International School, ICSE Kalyan
Technology cannot replace teachers but technology in the hands of teachers can usher transformation. Covid 19 was unpredictable and teachers did re-learning and self-learning never before could learning be happening the way it is now—everywhere, all the time, on any possible topic, supporting any possible learning style or preference due to pandemic. Pandemic transformed traditional teachers to 21st Century teachers.
Classrooms don't need tech geeks who can teach, we need teaching geeks who can use tech --- David Geurin.
To teach is to touch a LIFE FOREVER. Teaching in 2020 was like a revolutionary change. It required a large heart and good wifi to nurture little curious minds. Teachers were learning new technologies in order to be able to offer students choices, having one’s own hands-on experience and expertise will be useful. Since technology keeps developing, learning a tool once and for all is not an option. The good news is that new technologies are new for novice and experienced teachers alike, so everyone can jump in at any time.
Teachers are now seen as Global teachers…..as today’s tools make it possible to learn about other countries and people firsthand. Of course, textbooks are still sufficient, yet there’s nothing like learning languages, cultures, and communication skills by actually talking to people from other parts of the world. Teachers were learning about other cultures, people, and events by connecting and collaborating. And the closure of schools made teachers innovative. They started expanding the teaching toolbox and trying new ways that they have not tried before, such as teaching with social media or replacing textbooks with web resources. Not for the sake of tools but for the sake of students. Teachers are torchbearers… . . they have proved this by following the words 'the show must go on'. They kept upgrading their skills and kept learning. As new tools and new technology keep emerging, learning and adapting is essential because it was the hour's need. The positive impact was it’s fun, and even a few minutes a day will take you a long way and make the teachers realize their hidden capabilities and talents due to uncertainty carried out by Covid 19.
Before the pandemic teachers, responsibility was to instruct students not to use mobile devices in the classrooms but the situation rose where the teaching-learning process was held on tech devices. I remember my first years of teaching when I would not allow cell phones in class and I’d try to explain every new vocabulary word or answer every question myself—something I wouldn’t even think of doing today. Once again….students were encouraged to view their devices as valuable tools that support knowledge (rather than as distractions), they started using them as such.
Covid 19 triggered the usage of technology for teachers and that brought collaboration between teachers across the globe. Creating digital resources, presentations, and projects together with other educators and students will make classroom activities resemble the real world. Collaboration should go beyond sharing documents via email or creating PowerPoint presentations. Many great ideas never go beyond a conversation or paper copy, which is a great loss. Collaboration globally can change our entire experience. Another positive attribute of a pandemic is that teachers started digital teaching and digitally connected for organizing teaching resources and activities on one’s own website and integrated technology to bring students’ learning experience to a different level. Sharing links and offering digital discussions to help the teaching community.
Teachers have built a positive digital footprint, It might sound obvious, but it is for today’s teachers to model how to appropriately use social media, how to produce and publish valuable content, and how to create sharable resources. Even though it’s true that teachers are people, and they want to use social media and post their pictures and thoughts, we cannot ask our students not to do inappropriate things online if we ourselves do then. Maintaining professional behavior both in class and online will help build a positive digital footprint and model appropriate actions for students.
Indeed teachers were implementing the 2C's Connect and Collaborate with like-minded individuals. Again, today’s tools allow us to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Have a question for an expert or colleague? Simply connect via social media: follow, join, ask, or tell.
To wrap up, as a teacher Covid 19 brought a lot of challenges as well as opportunities and revolutionary change to groom and upgrade our skills.