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We don’t need no educator: The role of the teacher in today’s online education


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How often do we read about the importance of teachers in education? It must be every day, it seems. We are told about "strong empirical evidence that teachers are the most important school-based determinant of student achievement" again and again.

The problem with the educational system, it is argued, is that teachers need to be held accountable. We are told we must fire incompetent teachers. Not just in the United States, but in the UK and elsewhere, the concern is that bad teachers must go.

The problem with focusing on the role of the teacher, from my perspective, is that it misses the point. Though there may still be thousands of people employed today with the job title of "teacher" or "educator", it is misleading to suggests that all, or even most, aspects of providing an education should, or could, be placed into the hands of these individuals.

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Published in: Education, Technology

We don’t need no educator: The role of the teacher in today’s online education

  1. 1. We don’t need no educator The role of the teacherin today’s online education Stephen DownesNFF konferansen, 14 November 2011 Oslo, Norway
  2. 2. “…the single mostimportant factoraffecting studentachievement isteachers.” So we’re told, anyway…
  3. 3. In fact there numerous factors: parental income &educational attainment, social factors &expectations, social equity, genetic predisposition…
  4. 4. That aside, if we just look at educators, we seedramatic changes in the traditional role of theeducator… as though the educator is disappearing
  5. 5. Today’s Three-fold Task:1.Pull apart the roles of the educator in an online world2.Identify those roles in the context of the massive open online course3.Provide practical examples and applications
  6. 6. A historical trend…
  7. 7. … will continue today
  8. 8. The context…. (connectivism)• Educators are no longer ‘the experts’• Learning is no longer about content transfer• Teaching takes place in an authentic environment• Learning consists of engagement, experimentation and communication
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  10. 10. The Roles….Teacher asExpert Teacher as LearnerTeacher asCoach Teacher as Designer
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  12. 12. #hashtag
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  17. 17. 2. Designer
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  25. 25. The Conversationalist
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