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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Editorial: Raising tech-smart teachers

SPEAK their language. Teachers know that communication facilitates the learning process taking place in and outside the classroom.

For this reason, many Filipino teachers bend the rule to speak in English to converse in the mother tongue spoken by their students.

When students and teachers use the same lingo, students will not only be receptive to the messages of teachers but will also express their ideas and relate with their classmates and teachers; thus, ensuring that there is dialogue and interaction.

In the jargon of communication, the exchange of feedback between receivers and senders indicates the two-way flow of interaction.

Tech-savvy

Should teachers embrace new media as another language to use for relating with one’s students and promoting learning?

Public school teachers interviewed by Justin K. Vestil for an article published in Sun.Star Cebu on Oct. 3 were of different minds about embracing social media and smartphones for classroom interaction.

Resistance stems from the perception that students are more often distracted by gadgets for non-academic use, such as gaming and pornography.

Since the Internet and new media are indelible features of the media landscape, teachers should not shirk from the challenge of understanding these in order to serve as guides to help youths negotiate in the network society.

As digital natives, youths are so much advanced in mastering technology and applying this to their lives.

However, teachers have the experience and maturity to provide their students with the media literacy to encourage responsible interactions on social media.

In the wired world, schools and homes should maintain and even strengthen their collaboration to educate youths and inculcate ethical behavior and self-regulation as stakeholders of media.

For instance, teachers are the frontline guardians who should monitor changes in the behavior of students forced by their parents and other elders to participate in cybersex and online human trafficking.

Level up

Many teachers are digital immigrants, born long before the influx of new media. However, the age and technology gaps between them and their students can be bridged through trainings and openness to continuing learning and retooling on the part of the mentors.

There are noticeable shifts in Millennials’ attention spans, reading patterns, comprehension of concepts, writing and spelling skills, and other aspects of learning affected by new media.

Trainings can help teachers see the opportunities and challenges in these learning trends. For instance, the Internet has interactive websites, multimedia resources, e-books, and other digital resources that are free, accessible, and limitless in fusing enjoyment and instruction.

To enable public school teachers to cross the digital divide, public funds should be allocated for trainings and the acquisition of gadgets to upgrade computer facilities and enable teachers to engage students in the new platform.

Teachers can be trained and learn how to use the new media to promote independent learning that continues long after classes end. Promising more fulfillment than traditional classroom instruction, independent learning will not just benefit students and teachers.

Digital media literacy can have an impact on more informed, participatory and vigilant citizens, as well as more transparent and accountable leaders.

Society is the end beneficiary of a process that begins when teachers brave the new world of technology.
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