What a great tool and resource for teaching. I’m taking the D2L training and there is a ton of potential for what this system can do. It is the same stuff that was demonstrated by George Couros at Connect 2013 in Blogs as Portfolios. It can be a great way not only to deliver content but make students more responsive and responsible. It could also be an excellent resource to involve and inform parents.
Now, I say a great tool for teaching and not a great teacher for a good reason. There can be an evil side to this technology where the uninformed can be convinced that this replaces the teacher. It doesn’t. It gives the student the opportunity to be responsible and become a self-regulated learner by working through content at their own pace. It does not teach them how to think. It has the potential to cover two of the 4Cs, Communication and Collaboration, but fails to address Creativity and Critical Thinking. That’s where the teacher steps in to explain, challenge and model these learning skills. It will give us less talk time and more listening/one-on-one time. Students can progress at their own level. It allows an incredible mixing of media to hit all types of learners. It allows them to be an active part of the process and so much more. But the heart of it is still a professional teacher.
The training we receive is great but parents need to know and understand this as well. Teachers do not deliver content. We teach learning and encourage creativity. Professional teachers offer a human element that the technology cannot replace. That’s the message that needs to get out and fast before someone starts convincing people they don’t need a $95,000/year teacher if they have a computer program that can deliver the same thing.