Remember who taught you how to write? And to read? And to add or multiply with a little song that you still sing today to remember how much is 9×6?
We all have a face to mind, a person who, with his commitment every day, managed to get us into the mollera one of the best treasures we can have: KNOWLEDGE.
Today is their day, the day of all teachers, of all TEACHERS.
As pointed out in the article of Ana Mañá Blanco published in the newspaper El País, Unesco decided to set a day to look back, to remember where we came from, so that we would recognize the merit of those who taught us how to build.
Building, growing, innovating, creating… are verbs that today are the order of the day in the world of work for which they, the teachers that we have had over the years, were preparing us.
In #TheNowFamily we wanted to count on what could be one of the best teachers in Spain and the world, David Calle. Creator of unicoos. com, an online portal where you can receive lessons in various science subjects (mathematics is his strong suit) free of charge. We all know that math is a tough bone to crack for many people.
David Calle opened a Youtube channel (by his wife’s advice) in which he uploaded the videos with his explanations. After the success of those publications on youtube, some of which have more than 1 million views, Unicoos. com is the result.
Due to this success he was selected last year for the Global Teacher Prize “Oscars” of the teaching, remaining among the 10 finalists. His students number in the millions and he has never set foot in the classroom of a school or an institute, at least as a teacher.
Its place is online, technological and web. Times are changing and now demand a greater interaction with technology on the part of teachers and students.
That is why we wanted to ask him, among other things, where education is going with the technological world we live.
In the interviews we’ve seen you do, you say:”Technology can’t replace the teacher, but it can add a lot to his work”. There’s a lot on YouTube but what do you miss? What device, software, concept, idea, etc…. would it be necessary to translate into technology?
Indeed, at present and until a “supertechnology” of AI is developed that, among other things, evaluates knowledge, predicts the students’ vocation, aptitude and attitudes, as well as values the emotional state of a student, teachers are irreplaceable, and that no technology or machine can ever supplant or supplement a personal relationship, because the word itself indicates “person-l”. That said, technology, in whatever form, is a tool that multiplies (if used correctly) what learners learn, the speed with which they learn it, even how long it will be remembered and how they can use that knowledge. Videos, augmented reality, applications, video games… Everything is good if it’s to get students more connected and involved with what they learn in class and become protragonists in some way.
Free software or not?
From a professional and technological point of view, both of them respond to a series of needs and requirements, so both are necessary. From a personal point of view, the first thing we studied to use it in Unicoos is free software.
Do we abandon the use of paper completely?
From our point of view, the use of paper should be considerably reduced (if the source is trees) although we all know that there are substitutes that can be used, and therefore we should not abandon their use, several reasons from the most “romantic” as it is that handwriting itself would be an art that all students should control fluently; even the most practical is that having certain things on paper; written is one of the best backups that can exist. Having said that, personally, I advocate abandoning books as a study tool to free our students’ backpacks of weight and considerably reduce the economic impact on their families year after year.
All of us who are 30,40 and 50 years old today have learned by teaching without any kind of technology, and we have learned. In another interview we heard you say to a student that you were not better than your teacher, but that your teacher didn’t pay attention to you and that you could “rewind” and see as many times as you wanted. To what extent have the boys and girls of today lost their attention and motivation? and to what extent is the teacher’s problem and how to explain it?
It is not that it is the boys or girls of today who have lost attention or motivation, more or less than previous generations, what have changed are the “distractions”, the inputs they receive. For example, when I was a little boy, if you loved football or basketball, the distraction was a ball and playing a couple of hours with your friends. Now, what takes up our students’ time are the social networks, which can consume a great deal of their free time. And that affects classroom work very much because students are unable to relate to what they study with the world around them and are passionate about, disconnected and confronted with two completely different worlds on a daily basis: what happens in class and what happens outside. That’s why we must try to adapt the class dynamics to the society they live in, trying to deal with these distractions and even know how to use them to engage the student in learning.
As Francisco Albarello says,”based on availability and ubiquitous access, technologies create the idea that learning requires no effort. However, it seems to be the other way around: an additional effort must be made to get out of that comfort,”to develop skills in reading, validation, searching and checking information”. before? Or did the need make us more workers?
As I mentioned earlier, each generation has a different environment that requires a different way of doing things, what we cannot do is try to continue applying the same type of training, with the same methodologies and dynamics that were used when there was no internet, computers or smartphones, to the present and future generations. The formative system must be constantly adapted and evolved, of course we know that we are working on it, but unfortunately our feeling is that we always go a little behind and gaps occur in the form of generations of children with high percentages of frustration in their learning.
Another question is whether we are not overexposed to so much technology even in things that we should still be the ones to do,”with our hands. digital technology has overpopulated teaching and learning processes with information and data, and this can be a problem or a great opportunity. When does the use of technology become addiction?
Based on the above, from our point of view in Unicoos and always being very cautious and speaking in the field of learning, speaking in terms of addiction would be disproportionate, technology is a tool, which can be used more or less to achieve the objectives, another thing is how the children use it and for what (this is where you have to focus), but you cannot talk about addiction, it is the time that “has touched them”. I would equate it to the time when learning was democratized and all children had to attend school to learn to read and write using paper and pencil. Everyone started using it, but no one was talking about addiction to paper, reading or writing.
The use of ICT in the classroom also puts teacher training in debate: Fernando Avendaño (author of the book Written Culture is no longer what it used to be. Reading, writing, technology and school, edited by Homo Sapiens) ensures that it is important that future teachers “prepare themselves to teach with technology by making technology” and that, in their training,”they can propose appropriate applications that respond to the needs of specific contexts”. What tools, in your opinion, should teachers use, which nowadays it is strange that they should use?
The answer is technology, there are thousands of different technological tools for every need. For us, technology is valid for all fields and subjects, but it can clearly be used to a greater or lesser extent in some subjects and in others (for example, if a boy is currently evaluated his physical condition at the beginning of the course in the subject of “physical education” can only be done with a few physical tests, but the teacher can use technological tools to better monitor during the year of the student’s evolution and recommend specific exercises).
In Finland, for example, learning through neuroscience was renewed. The children have virtually no homework, no more than 4 hours of education and a lot of leisure time. The main aim is to encourage children to want to learn. Experts say that during their free time they can better develop their skills and abilities. Do you agree with this statement?
There is no doubt that if results are being achieved it is because in some way it has been “hit with the key” for children in Finland and its specific casuistry. Unfortunately, however, we cannot “copy” systems from other countries and places because our society (by talking about Spain), the environment of our students, are not the same and therefore we cannot do things the same. We must work to analyze and define methodologies, tools and dynamics that we can use and implement in our daily lives. As an example in Unicoos we are trying to do our bit by helping training entities to incorporate the Flipped Clasroom methodology in their classes.
Teacher and pedagogue Nancie Atwell has been the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, the so-called “Nobel” of teachers explaining the need to convert children into protagonists of their learning and bets on giving them freedom to choose their own ways. Nancie believes that only then will they remain motivated and interested in knowledge. What can we offer children, what technologies make learning easier, especially the “hard” mathematics?
We must offer them an educational system appropriate to their time, their environment, the society in which they live, their passions. And prepare them for the new opportunities and professions they will have to pursue (some yet to be invented). To do this we must study how to apply different methodologies, dynamics and technological tools with a single objective:; that everyone can get the best out of themselves and nobody stays on the road because one day they did not understand a derivative or their learning rhythm is different from the rest.
There are currently some foundations and organizations that seem to support other means and systems of education and, above all, support the attitude of teachers and teachers who want to change the world. Have you ever participated in any of the Telefónica EDUkits?
In my case, since my nomination in the Top 10 in the Global Teacher Prize, I collaborate with the Varkey Foundation and other teachers trying to give different answers to the problems of always. Recently we also collaborated altruistically with Fundacion A3Media in a spot that pointed out the importance of being a teacher and encouraged the teaching profession. At the same time, we are currently working with other public and private institutions on some projects that have yet to be defined, in order to highlight this wonderful profession.