Jared Stein, Canvas Vice President, has told Lectera Magazine how technology is changing the relationship between people in general and especially between participants in the learning process.
- What does Canvas offer in the educational services market?
Canvas is important for the education market primarily because it makes the fundamental tasks of teaching and learning easier. And that's its primary basis. Just making teaching and learning easier is such an important thing in today's world especially when so many teaching faculty have so much to do and students too. Their lives are very busy, so by adding organizations and flexibility and giving students the opportunity to take classes online - that enough is innovation.
Canvas is all about developing the teacher's relationship with the students. Yes, whether the teacher is in a traditional classroom or fully online, we try to use technology to save people's time and increase those human connections.
Online education especially or any technology mediated education has this reputation of being less human, less personal. I think social media continues to permeate our lives, we're developing a different understanding of how technology helps us connect, but too with canvas it's very important that interpersonal connections are very easy and very fast. And that it's not just text but you can have video, you can have audio, you can have all of those aspects of that face-to-face communication even though it's online.
- How can one help teachers to master new technologies and apply them in the educational process?
Is exactly this question: How do we move education forward both in terms of the teaching methods and in terms of the technology that we use, when some teachers may not be ready for that change. I think the answer is that we have to help those teachers become ready. On the teaching front we have to gradually introduce them to new ways that strengthen their relationship with students and that show really positive changes in learning outcomes. On the technology front we have to be okay with teachers saying: I'm scared of this technology. And as technologists we have to then make it easier and easier and save them time from the very first moment that they use the technology.
- Will anyone who has already learned something be able to become a teacher for others?
I really like the idea that our jobs as educators are complete when our students themselves become teachers, when they can teach the things that we want them to know and understand. I think that's when our goal is fulfilled. I think historically we have looked at teachers as the only source of expert information. I think today it's not so much the change in education, it's the change in the world where we have access to information and expertise from anywhere at any time. That's causing us to rethink what is the teacher for. Now the teacher still has a tremendous value but less so perhaps as that single source of information and more as that guide and that mentor connecting students and helping them develop their own autonomy.