In a bid to improve education quality (SDG4), educators across the globe have embraced educational technology to support teaching and learning but also engage learners in student-centred learning with technology-driven activities such as discussions and assignments. I am convinced that the 21st-century educator should not be technology averse. Technology is not meant to replace teachers as perceived but rather to support educators in meeting the needs of all learners. To put technology to proper use in education, educators across the academic spectrum need to be skilled in TEL beyond foundational skills in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The training in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) which is commonly referred to as eLearning, equips the educators with knowledge and skills on how to contextually apply educational technologies with other agencies to support the educator’s provision of quality teaching and learning. TEL also appeals to the educators’ ability to creatively provide equitable and inclusive teaching and learning.
Dr Simon Bates of the University of British Columbia, Canada, an authority in the field of teaching, learning and technology developed a model code-named ‘The anatomy of the 21st-century educator’ composed of six characteristics.
- Teacher for Learning: an understanding of how students learn and how to design effective activities for learning.
- Collaborator: sharing and enhancing one’s own educational approaches within and between discipline collaborations.
- Experimenter: an openness to try, reflect and learn from new approaches, pedagogies and technologies to support student learning.
- Curator: a producer and consumer of appropriate educational resources through sharing and development.
- Technologist: fluency using learning technology in educationally effective ways.
- Scholar: an awareness and appreciation of effective research-based, discipline appropriate pedagogical approaches.
Knowledge of the educational technologies to coordinate to meet the needs of students in teaching and learning, empowers the educator to purposefully operate in the areas stated in Bates’s model. Therefore, it is imperative for educators in to adopt Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) skills to be effective and relevant in meeting the teaching and learning needs of the 21st-century student.