July 14, 2014

Will Computers Ever Replace Teachers? – From Justin Reich

This post first appeared on The New Yorker Elements Blog.

In the 40 years since computers and software first started assisting students, how much has changed? How much has stayed the same? In this article, EdTechTeacher Co-Founder, Justin Reich, offers a brief history of computer supported instruction and reflects on what has yet to come.

… Perhaps the most concerning part of these developments is that our technology for high-stakes testing mirrors our technology for intelligent tutors. We use machine learning in a limited way for grading essays on tests, but for the most part those tests are dominated by assessment methods—multiple choice and quantitative input—in which computers can quickly compare student responses to an answer bank. We’re pretty good at testing the kinds of things that intelligent tutors can teach, but we’re not nearly as good at testing the kinds of things that the labor market increasingly rewards. In “Dancing with Robots,” an excellent paper on contempotary education, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argue that the pressing challenge of the educational system is to “educate many more young people for the jobs computers cannot do.” Schooling that trains students to efficiently conduct routine tasks is training students for jobs that pay minimum wage—or jobs that simply no longer exist. 

>> Read the full article on The New Yorker

To learn more from Justin Reich, come hear him at the July 28-30 EdTechTeacher Summit in Chicago.