Can technology replace teachers?
The answer to this question would solely depend on who you refer as a teacher. Undoubtedly, technology is going to transform the landscape of the entire education system in an unprecedented manner. The internet and smartphones have transformed several aspects of human life and the education system just can’t claim any immunity from it. To understand how technology can affect the education sector let us have a look at what is going on at this point in time.
On one hand, schools are converting into smart schools i.e. equipped with smart board and various experimental learning modules supported by technology. Learners are using the internet for various information they need. Internet is offering a variety of learning materials for almost all levels of learners. The beauty is in internet’s ability to offer a variety of learning resources on almost all the topics which effectively means that it provides resources as per the learning approaches of the learners. Auditory learners can listen to podcasts; visuals can easily find several videos on any topic on YouTube and similar platforms. Also, there is a vast amount of written content available, and those who prefer to read and understand can look for such resources.
Learning is becoming fun with several apps offering a fun way of learning. Supported with Artificial Intelligence, these apps exactly identify the needs of a learner and adapt learning accordingly. Various Learning Management Systems are helping schools to identify the individual learning needs of learners.
On the other hand, schools and parents are complaining that there is an acute scarcity of quality teachers. And, this scarcity of quality teachers is in an era when we can easily find several coaching institutions and numerous teachers in our closest vicinities. Teaching and tutoring have become a kind of minimum income guarantee scheme for most of the unemployed youth. Either they get no training or have nominal training prior to jumping into teaching. Starting as untrained teachers they learn teaching with experience and adapt to a particular teaching style that suits them the most.
Undoubtedly such teachers and tutors, who become teachers by chance rather by choice, won’t survive the onslaught of the technology-led education system. AI-driven and adaptive LMS would certainly replace these untrained teachers and tutors. When a plethora of free content and assessment materials would be available why would any student look to such teachers?
However, we mustn’t forget that teaching-learning is a process that is all about humans and human psychology. And machines no matter how smart they become, can never replace the human. While dealing with humans, a lot of human factors e.g. emotional intelligence and building self-esteem are involved, and teachers who would show these skills would remain in high demand forever. Teachers who would be the role models for their learners, who would inspire learners to do more and believe in their abilities, are always going to remain relevant.