Video Reflections on Automation in Teaching

Robots and humans

Researchers from the Near Future Teaching Project interviewed students to get their thoughts on automation in teaching, and they had some interesting thoughts:

Here are some of the things they said:

  • Robots can’t replace the physical presence of a teacher. Students prefer to have personal contact with a human being.
  • We will see a lot more artificial intelligence incorporated into software like the virtual learning environments, tracking the students’ progress and structuring their learning.
  • Students might learn the basics of their subjects from AI / robots, and then turn to teachers when they have complex or difficult questions
  • AI built into writing software will be able to provide students with instant answers to some of their questions (I think some versions of Microsoft Word already do this)
  • Will this lead to advances in human knowledge?
  • Academics may be concerned that automation would undermine the basics of their teaching, but could it free more of their time for higher things?
  • If some of the pastoral work can be left to automated scripts, this could free up academics to talk to students more about what really matters to them.
  • Perhaps we’ve got no choice because students are expecting us to use more and more technology.
  • We need technology and humans to work together, so they can complement each other.

(Artificial Intelligence, by Bovee and Thill, via Flickr. Licence: CC-BY-2.0)

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