Unable to find a French and Spanish teacher, a Maine high school will use Rosetta Stone software to teach foreign languages, reports Rachel Ohm in the Morning Sentinel. An educational technician will help students with the software.
In Madison, a small town in central Maine, 67 out of 215 high school students take French or Spanish.
Rosetta Stone is used in more than 4,000 schools nationwide, though usually to supplement rather than replace a human teacher, reports Ohm.
Students can work at their own pace, though they’re expected to finish one language level by the end of the year.
The program quizzes students and repeats lessons if they haven’t achieved mastery.
“In a regular classroom, that wouldn’t happen,” (aide Nicholas) Paradis said. “The teacher would say, ‘OK, you got an 80. You’re good forever. Bye.’ Instead, everyone that got an 80 now has to come back and take the quiz again.”
The program teaches 30 languages. Ninth grader Aidan O’Donnell decided to take German, which the school hasn’t offered before.
Madison High will try to hire a foreign language teacher next year, even if Rosetta Stone is a success, said Principal Jessica Ward. “Yes, they are learning the language with the Rosetta Stone program, but I worry that they are missing out on the cultural education and the personal touch of having a real teacher available.”
Technolgy won’t replace teachers, writes Thomas Arnett on the Christensen blog.
The truth is, in the era of artificial intelligence, the most valued and secure jobs will be those that require complex social skills—such as teaching. Good teachers do more than just convey information. They coach and mentor their students to make learning relevant and meaningful, and they foster students’ interests in tackling complex, real-world problems. And while technology can replicate teachers’ expertise in dispensing information and assessing students’ knowledge of rote facts and skills, it is far from replacing the teacher’s role in providing expert feedback on critical thinking, communication, and leadership.
Technology can handle some teaching tasks, he adds. “But the more we utilize the best recorded lectures, documentary films, and instructional technologies to replace live lectures, the more we can free up teachers to spend their time working closely with their students to foster deeper learning.”