The Role of the Teacher in a Technology-rich Learning Environment

Accredited online professional development for teachers

By Michael Hilkemeijer

In a technology-rich society, teachers need to be able to adapt to the changes occurring in their classrooms as they become technology-rich learning environments. These changes are occurring as a consequence of the new learning needs of students. Therefore, to develop student ICT capability is essential and “teachers who can utilise technology-rich environments to assist in the development of these skills in their students will be at a distinct advantage over those who cannot, as they are multi-skilled and can offer their students additional experiences in their quest for knowledge” (Rickards, 2003, p. 117).  In a knowledge-based economy, there is a large demand for people to be proficient in ICT.

What this means for teachers is that “having the skills to utilise fully whatever technologies or lack of technologies, are present in your learning environment” is a desirable trait to possess. Technology transforms into a valuable asset for the teacher to have. Rickards (2003) states that “with appropriate teaching and technology skills, a teacher can adapt an environment where technology may not be fully operational and take a more flexible delivery approach” (p119). In return, this model to students that “people need to be responsive in the workplace and adapt to new environments quickly” (Rickards, 2003, p. 120).

Being an ICT capable teacher is not about having the fastest, the latest or most impressive technology. The role of the teacher in a technology-rich learning environment is simply to make the most efficient use of what they have and what is readily available. To become an ICT capable teacher who can teach effectively in these environments is all about “taking charge of your own path toward personal empowerment with technology and selecting what is most appropriate for your and the tasks that you have to achieve today either as an individual or as part of a collaborative team” (Rickards, 2003, p. 120).

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