Recently, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article in The Atlantic magazine about how the role of the teacher has become "deconstructed" in this profession. It is a great article that highlights what is happening in education today, but I think the word "deconstructing" sounds a bit too harsh. Maybe the author used this word in the context to analyze, but it left me thinking that he was referring to breaking something down. To deconstruct something is to literally dismantle it and I don't feel that is the case here. Yes, the job of the teacher has changed somewhat, but change can be good, especially when we live in a world that is never stagnate. The article mentions several online resources and tools that all contribute to this transformation and I can't help but highlight Google as a giant influence in how we now teach and learn.
I am happy to be a big promoter of project based learning where the focus is on student-centered experiences. This is truly the way to grasp and hold information and further one's understanding about a topic with essential questions and different perspectives. Students are engaged in this type of practice and it prepares them to be critical thinkers beyond the classroom walls. With the increase of web based apps and mobile devices, Google has certainly made this leap into education and is shifting the landscape of learning. Teachers no longer need to spend time "feeding" students information; students can now feed themselves. This adaptation in pedagogy is a positive turn, and doesn't imply that teachers are no longer needed in the classroom. It gives teachers more resources, time to interact with students, problem solve, and the ability to dig deeper into the lessons at hand.
I am thrilled to see students using new apps, research, and sharing tools within the Google Apps for Education platform, and this can only happen if the teachers are on board with the differentiate learning in their classrooms and students have the necessary resources available. Teachers also need time to adapt and plan lessons with professional development readily available.
Change is inevitable, important and essential to assist in moving things forward in any profession. Teachers are not going through a deconstruction, they are participating in new growth and inquiry. Teachers are expanding their knowledge base through student interaction and participation in the classroom. There are fewer boundaries and the changes in teaching and learning are unstoppable. Lucky for us, Google has paved the way!