Photo: Technology and education
Experts from Mexico and the United States meeting in Mexico City insisted on the need to overhaul teaching methodologies and equip educators with the technological tools needed to enhance student performance.
During the two-day conference, which kicked off Wednesday at the National Library of Mexico, U.S. author and scholar Marc Prensky said the world of education was in need of a “revolution.”
The innovations set to occur in that sphere will dismantle the system currently used to train students at schools and institutes, Prensky said in a talk.
He added that technology, social networks and videogames were sure to play a major role in this process and be valuable tools for transmitting new skills to young people.
Speaking to an audience of roughly a thousand people, including academics and Mexican educational authorities, he acknowledged that many teachers were afraid to work with new technologies for fear that their students’ knowledge in that area would eclipse their own.
But he said educators must have the confidence to use these tools to help children develop their capabilities.
Mexico’s deputy secretary for basic education, Alba Martinez Olive, said for her part that the use of technology in public schools was key to the effort to provide equal opportunity to students, both around the world and in Mexico in particular.
“We need a country with greater fairness in every sense. Offering technological tools to students in public schools is an opportunity to provide equal opportunity, to give students access to digital culture,” Martinez said.
American science teacher and author Aaron Sams, who has implemented successful, cutting-edge education strategies in the United States and Britain, told Efe that “teachers will be the main catalysts of educational change worldwide.”
He said it was essential for educators to shift their traditional teaching methods and give students other “ways to approach knowledge.”
The difficult part is changing teachers’ perspectives so they are able to hand control over the learning process to students, according to Sams, a high school chemistry teachers in Woodland Park, Colorado.
He is the creator of the concept of “flip teaching,” in which new content is learned at home by watching video lectures, while assigned problems (what used to be homework) are done in class under the teacher’s guidance.