Preston, founder of #educhatsa and headmaster at Elkanah House Senior Primary School, spoke to HumanIPO about the challenges of incorporating technology in the classroom in an exclusive interview in Cape Town.
HumanIPO reported yesterday on the online Twitter conference #educhatsa, connecting teachers through a discussion platform on Monday evenings.
There is a “big issue, of course, when it comes to the digital divide,” Preston said.
Although there are organisations addressing this challenge, he feels there is still a great gap because of the varying technical equipment access levels of schools in South Africa.
He mentioned the recent issue of ZABooks, an online library available to South African schools on tablets, commenting that it could be “wonderful” for those who are able to implement these digital tools in the classroom.
However, he does not feel it will provide a solution for the whole of the country, which is “not ready yet”.
“First you have to get the basics right,” he said.
According to his experience teachers are generally “keen to learn and connect with” these e-learning tools.
Despite the lack of technical resources at most schools in South Africa, Preston still deems it a good idea to engage with the technology in classroom if possible.
An experienced educator himself, he believes “teachers are control freaks”, making the implementation of simplifying technology challenge as the learning process is weighed up against the skills required with essential aspects like assessment possibilities to be considered.
Preston quoted British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, saying: “Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be!”
He believes the integration of technology in classrooms should allow discovery as part of the learning process.
“Technology in school should be invisible – as normalised by integrating into a process,” Preston said.