By Bouzi Mounaim
By Bouzi Mounaim
Morocco World News
Rabat, July 19, 2013
One of the major roles assigned to teachers is to mediate between learners and knowledge. Surprisingly enough, laptops, PCs, tablets and ‘smart-phones’ can perfectly assume this role; provided of course that an Internet connection is available and accessible within the area. In other words, is it not possible that one day Technology-based Communication and Information will make the majority of teachers, among them Moroccan ones, obsolete? That is, they could become ‘unnecessary’ or simply ‘unemployed’, particularly at the secondary and tertiary levels of the Moroccan educational system. This is indeed a legitimate question to ask since many analysts believe that, thanks to Google’s omniscience and omnipresence, I.C.T. (Information and Communication Technology) will inevitably take over teachers’ professional position.
It is said that Google, the spearhead of I.C.T., is both ‘omniscient’ and ‘omnipresent’. Omniscient means, ‘having infinite insight and knowledge’. This is exactly what Google is. Log in and type any imaginable word, idea, phrase or concept, related to whatever domain of human knowledge, be it Physics, Art, Human Sciences, History of Morocco or even the Super-Natural, and dozens of links will open up; all that remains to do, for any given Moroccan student, is to be adequately selective. And being selective is definitely achievable with appropriate guidance. In this case, the ‘poor human teacher’ seems obsolete before this gigantic ghoul that is Google! Indeed, hardly ever would you find a teacher knowledgeable enough in more than two or three disciplines beyond his or her field of specialization.
Omnipresent, on the other hand, means ‘being present everywhere at all time’. Google is available 24/7/365 wherever you are in the world; again, with the assumption that the Internet is available. Conversely, teachers are hardly reachable beyond their working hours, even within the confines of the school they are appointed to, let alone during nights, weekends or holidays.
Let us now consider a more concrete example: an imaginary average-achiever Baccalauréat student from, say, the scientific stream, decided to stay home during a school day, but instead resolved to attend his or her whole day classes of Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy and English online! Is it feasible? Is it economical? Is it more efficient in terms of teaching and learning quality? Theoretically, all these questions seem to have positive answers: Yes, it is possible to attend Math classes, Physics, Philosophy, English, or any other discipline for that matter, only by interacting with a PC screen. Specialized and very powerful sites displaying live and comprehensive lessons abound on the Internet; ‘Arabmaths’, ‘Madariss’ and ‘Khan Academy’ are three Maths sites worth mentioning in this regard. Our imaginary student then is not even required to travel from home to school, at seven o’clock in the morning; he or she can start working at nine or even ten, rather than eight; bullying and subsequent disciplinary measures become anachronistic; and more importantly, the student can play and replay any lesson hundreds of times, had he or she not understood part or the whole lesson.
The tedious compulsory seven-hour school attendance per day could be compressed or extended at student’s whim! Moroccan teachers in their bulk however, are not that patient to repeat explanation and illustration for each and every detail during the lesson. Not only does the success story of our imaginary student undermine the very presence of teachers in school buildings, but it also makes these buildings an endangered entity as well. Indeed, even schools appear to be within the ‘firing line’ of I.C.T. Schools and teachers will come to the student’s home, but not the reverse! Twenty years ago, this schooling situation was science fiction; but now, it seems at our doorsteps.
All the above arguments seem to demonstrate that the war opposing the Moroccan human teacher to Google, the knight of I.C.T. par excellence, is but a ‘David versus Goliath’ confrontation. Yet, a light of hope appears at the end of the tunnel. Teachers may, and can resist the I.C.T tsunami; the reason why lies in the following simple fact: Larry Page and Sergey Brin themselves, the cofounders of Google, created the whole concept of this phenomenal Information Search Engine while they were attending a genuine and traditional University, with flesh-and-blood teachers. The institution is Stanford University located in California.
Edited by Allison Kraemer
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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