Will Teachers Be Replaced By Computers?

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Diane Ravitch wrote in “The toll of school reform on public education” for the Washington Post that since 2009:

“Nearly one-third of teachers—1 million teachers—are considering quitting. That’s a 70 percent increase since 2009. Who will replace them?”

She answers this question by writing:

“Teaching will become a job, not a profession. Young people will typically spend a year or two as teachers, then move on to other, more rewarding careers. Federal and state policy will promote online learning, and computers will replace teachers. Online class sizes will reach 1:100, even 1:200; the job of monitoring the screens will be outsourced, creating large economies for state budgets.”

So, will computers replace teachers in the classroom?  Will schools be empty and students log in online to learn content found on standardized tests? 

Technology is creeping its way into the classroom.  Textbooks are being replaced with iPads and laptops.  Chalkboards are being replaced with SmartBoards. Even a gymnasium can be reduced to a Wii or Xbox Kinect game.  These older tools are being replaced with newer digital tools.  People are harder to replace.  There are some things that teachers can do that technology can’t.  Teachers can be mentors, friends, sometimes even a surrogate parent to students; computers just can’t attain that kind of personal connection.  Teachers can carry on communications.  If a student types a question into Google, it may take him a while to sift through all the irrelevant and incorrect information to locate the answer.  If he asks that same question to a teacher, he’ll probably get an immediate and knowledgeable answer.  Teachers can motive students and encourage them to do better.  My computer has yet to shout words of encouragement to me as I work on completing an assignment.  Teachers provide the human interaction that students need.  Technology should certainly be utilized in the classroom, but only alongside a real-live teacher.  Computers cannot fully replace teachers, but can supplement live-teaching.

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