Is Technology the End of Teachers?

Robotic head representing technology

Teachers and textbooks once were students’ primary source of information, but the Internet era has transformed teachers into technology coaches and co-explorers. They help students to experiment, discover, create — and perhaps most importantly in financial education — to identify trustworthy sources among a sea of misinformation.

Meanwhile, online learning platforms and open-source curricula seemingly have eliminated the need to ever step foot in a classroom. But even the best tools can’t make up for poor lessons, and even the best lessons can be poorly executed.

As it turns out, the digital age needs good teachers more than ever.

Tech in the (Financial Ed) Classroom)

More and more teachers now employ emerging technologies — ranging from digital whiteboards and video lessons to tablet textbooks and sophisticated online learning platforms — to enhance personal finance lessons.

Some decry financial education’s slowness in adapting to these innovations, while others caution that we should maintain a healthy skepticism about these shiny new delivery methods for research-validated curricula.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Examples: Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Instructure

On the plus side, LMS platforms allow for flexible timing to complete assignments and new ways to track individual progress. LMS courses take a lot of the instructor’s time and effort to design coursework, monitor progress and build a course. However, after the upfront work is completed, LMS platforms can save time in modifying and duplicating content for future courses.

Learner Analytics

By tracking behavior through online lessons, quizzes and discussion boards, instructors now get a clearer picture of a learner’s progress. Through “learner profiling,” teachers can intervene earlier with struggling students and plan more efficiently for future courses. As learner analytics get more sophisticated, models can emerge for personalized and adaptable learning pathways that keep students working at the edge of their ability.

Flipping the Classroom

Many teachers are “flipping” their normal routines — having students watch video lectures for homework and using class time to solve problems and participate in hands-on activities. Proponents say that flipped classrooms allow students to engage in meaningful, guided skills practice rather than passively listening during class time.

Search for “flipped classroom” at www.PBS.org to watch videos on the subject from PBS NewsHour.

5 Key Factors for Effective Financial Education

  1. Well-Trained Educator. The educator needs to be confident, competent and knowledgeable in the content and technology.
  2. Vetted/Evaluated Program Materials. The content should be created with the consultation of field experts and tested for the audience.
  3. Timely Instruction. Program goals, instructional tools and instruction topics should link to decisions that learners are readily able to make.
  4. Relevant Subject Matter. If learners are unable to relate to the topics, examples and content, then the level of engagement the instructor seeks will not be achieved.
  5. Evidence of Impact (Evaluation). Well-designed evaluations tell program providers where they are having impact on behavior, knowledge and/or confidence, where students are engaged and where improvements need to be made.

See the full Sept/Oct 2015 Digest or download the PDF.

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]

Contacts

  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]

  • Patricia (Pat) Seaman

    Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

    Direct: 303-224-3538
    [email protected]