(Not Quite) Virtual Teachers

The BBC carries a video report about teachers making videos (‘vodcasts’) to help pupils revise material. While I somewhat challenge the claims of ‘virtual’ and ‘interactive’ made in the report, I do believe this is a positive use of technology… to a certain extent.

I have learned a lot of interesting stuff by watching some educational videos on YouTube and elsewhere on the web (check out the awesome Periodic Table of Videos, for example), but I think it’s crucially important that pupils aren’t lulled into a sense of it being OK to rely too much on ‘after-the-fact’ learning resources. Learning is a process by which information is absorbed and retained. In the same way that mobile phone address books have destroyed people’s ability to remember important phone numbers, these kinds of quick-fix education hits run the risk of reducing pupils’ retention of the material if they are over-used or over-emphasised.

I am still positive about it though. Carry on, but tread carefully!

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