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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Will robots replace teachers?

Robots will replace teachers by 2027, predicts Anthony Seldon, a British educator.

Can teaching be automated? asks Kristin Houser, senior editor of Futurism.

However, no digital system can compete with humans when it comes to understanding what students need, Rose Luckin, a University College London Knowledge Lab professor, told  Futurism. “I do not believe that any robot can fulfill the wide range of tasks that a human teacher completes on a daily basis, nor do I believe that any robot will develop the vast repertoire of skills and abilities that a human teacher possesses,” Luckin said.

She sees a potential for Artificial Intelligence (AI) aides and tutors to share teacher’s workload.

Classrooms could be equipped with language processors, speech and gesture recognition technology, eye-tracking, and other physiological sensors to collect and analyze information about each student, Luckin writes. . . . (Teachers would) know which students weren’t getting enough sleep, if they had inadequate diets, if they were suffering from emotional stress — information that can affect a student’s performance but that can be difficult to tease out in the classroom.

Some researchers are working on such systems, writes Houser.

Developing the technology will be easier than persuading teachers and parents to accept it, predicts Terry Heick, founder and director of TeachThought.

He said teachers might take the suggestion that a “symbolically mindless robot” could do their work as an indication that others see their skillset as easy to duplicate. In fact, said Heick, the opposite is true — teaching is such an “impossible” task that anything that could make the job easier on teachers should be valued.

Parents will worry about their children’s privacy. The idea of sensors analyzing students’ stress levels sounds just a tad creepy.

Teachers are using technology to deliver mini-lessons and quizzes tailored to each student’s achievement level. What’s the next step? Is it a step we want to take?

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