I think it is certainly possible, I can think of several who I work with. But perhaps they could be even better by taking advantage of the opportunities available to us because of the technology. And I'm sure there are great teachers in parts of the world/society that have less or no access to technology. To answer 'no' we would have to say, "Without this technology, I wouldn't be a good teacher." Hmmm...
Hi there Craig, I like the way you have re-phrased this question. The poll arose from the yesterday's discussion starter at http://www.vln.school.nz/mod/threaded_forums/topicposts.php?topic=94660&group_guid=53307
Yesterday I bumped into an excellent lead teacher of ICT, who told me, sadly, she was changing her e-learning practices - due to the on-going challenges/issues of ICT management and unreliable access to technologies. So maybe there are other variables/barriers that make this statement even more complex?
I teach online for most of my teaching workload each week. I like to think I am good at what I do. But a significant chunk of my own education, by really amazing teachers, was received in a country where the availability of such high-tech stuff as chalk and pencils was not a certainty. Without those teachers equipping me to push the boundaries of what was learnable under the circumstancs, I may not have had the resilience to work some of the ICT tools I have used - when they were working well and when they were going really badly! Technology offers us a great toolkit. If we have city connections, we can even reach the toolkit on a bad day. Technology isn't what makes great teachers.
This is an interesting hypothesis that came up in a school the other day. The comment was made that teachers who use technology are automatically better teachers. I must admit I was shocked at the arrogance of the person making the commment. In my role, I have seen technology thrown at teachers and unless they use it effectively it can actually make them a less effective teacher. I have seen teachers spend valuable teaching time mucking around with 'management' stuff because they have not made sure they had planned their lesson correctly.
I have also seen some amazing teachers who also don't use technology. In my mind they are doing their students a dis-service so may be a good teacher but won't ever be an exceptional teacher until they embrace the use of Tecchnololgy.
Technology is one of many tools I reckon. I cannot imagine not using computers, cameras etc. in my teaching, but that does not mean that they make me a good or a bad teacher. It is what we do with the tools that makes the difference between good and bad teaching. Having all the technology in the world but not knowing what to do with it is at the one end, and teaching with paper and pencil (or even without that) and doing it with great learning outcomes is at the other end of the continuum I think.
However, I agree, we would be doing children a dis-service if we would not offer them the opportunity to get used to current technology and the learning that can develop from it. With this technology we need to offer the teacher the opportunity to explore the technology and the possibilities the technology might offer in their teaching and their students' learning.
I don't think though that everyone needs to switch to teaching an e-class - after all we are all different, we have areas of speciality, and teaching online might suit some people and not others. I would like to compare it to other specialisations, e.g. you might teach a bi-lingual class vs a mainstream class, or you might be a classroom teacher vs a specialist teacher.
So my verdict and vote is Technology maybe but not necessarily makes you a better teacher :-)