Unless there are other worlds like the fictional one where Superman originated from, I’d like to think that we have reached a level of technological advancement that could not even have been dreamed of a decade or two ago. The advent of computers and the omnipresence of the Internet have made the world one big classroom (or playground depending on your point of view) that is free from the limitations of physical boundaries. E-learning, wikis, online courses from respectable institutions like MIT and the like, and the general proliferation of information on any topic under the sun on the World Wide Web have made learning much simpler and easier than it was a few years ago.
The classrooms I remember from my school days are long gone – every student is equipped with gadgets and gizmos that they hope will aid the studying process; notebook computers, iPods, smart cell phones and PDAs are the staple diet of every self-respecting college student. But now concerns and questions are being raised about these gadgets replacing teachers altogether.
E-learning initiatives do not require teachers; they offer students the advantage of learning anywhere and anytime according to their convenience rather than at set times that depend on teachers and institution authorities. The teacher in this scenario is reduced to just framing the syllabus or guiding the student as to what to learn. There is no classroom interaction and no actual teaching being done.
In spite of the newfound popularity of e-learning, teachers are still in demand around the globe. There’s something missing in the learning aspect when you have to play both the roles of the teacher and the student; maybe it’s the lack of motivation in the absence of an authority figure and classmates whom you can compete against - which is why live online classes are being held around the world.
These combine the advantages of both classroom teaching and e-learning – with teachers working from all parts of the globe, students are able to find one online at any time, thanks to the time differences between different parts of the world. They can learn at the convenience, with the help of a teacher, and with other students from different geographical locations.
The Internet has made this a reality, and no matter how advanced we become in terms of technology, as long as there is a demand for more knowledge of the highest standards, there will be a demand for teachers who are dedicated to their jobs.