Teachers and Students as Knowledge Gatekeepers

In the traditional or conventional setting, teachers usually view themselves as the sole gatekeeper of knowledge, that they are the only source of what students can learn in class. It seemed that students cannot freely express their ideas, afraid that teachers won’t agree with them. Let me share a video that was shown in our EDNFE 221 class, a short clip from the 3 Idiots – What is Machine:

In situations especially in theoretical and complex discussions in the field of math and engineering, some students don’t get to understand concepts easily. This becomes a challenge then for the teachers to be able to explain concepts in different ways and is actually a test if they really master the ins and outs of the concept. For instance, there is just a single correct answer to a particular Math problem but there can be many solutions to arriving to such correct answer. What teachers should emphasize then in such cases is the significance of the process of solving and not just confined to one process.

In this age of technology, the role of teachers is being transformed from sources to facilitators of knowledge. If teachers used to be gatekeepers of knowledge (because they are the only ones who have access to the information in the form of books, research papers, etc.), now, new roles emerged because anyone can actually share something new to everyone. In my EDUC 190 class of undergraduate education students, I always make it a point that not all teachers are perfect and that learning is not a 1-way street. Students learn from teachers, teachers can learn from students, and students can learn from their classmates. As a class activity, we always have a #FeatureFridays session where everyone is required to share something new about educational technology and post it on Twitter. The great thing about this activity is that learning is collaborative and that the information collected and discussed undergo a form of scrutiny (if the information is really authoritative or not). Students get to analyze if the information gathered is reliable and they can also form interconnections with the diverse topics in class. In addition, they get to connect with other people (even foreign educators!) on Twitter which then sets the interaction in a global aspect.

Are you curious about #FeatureFridays? This was actually created after being inspired from the #edchat sessions I attend every Wednesday. Feel free to check out the different Twitter chat discussions on http://bit.ly/ChatSched. Enjoy! 🙂

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