Many believe that in anywhere from 5-20 years our educational system will be completely overhauled due to technology. In the past few years there has already been a transformation from teachers being “content experts” to “content facilitator” because the information being taught in the classroom is now readily available everywhere.
“We’re at the point where the Internet pretty much supplies everything we need. We don’t really need teachers in the same way anymore.”
Some believe that once this transformation is complete, there will be a few “super teachers” that are recorded and used in all classrooms throughout the country. This way the most interesting teachers are presenting the best possible lectures. This would cut down immensely on costs due to the fact that there would be fewer teachers. There would still be someone physically in the classroom, but they would strictly be a “Facilitator” and would not get paid as much as teachers currently do.
“The relatively recent emergence of the Internet, and the ever-increasing ease of access to web, has unmistakably usurped the teacher from the former role as dictator of subject content.”
This is a scary thought for teachers, but with the rising costs of colleges, it is a change students could benefit greatly from. The price of college cannot continue to increase at the rate that it has been over the last 10 years, and eventually some type of technology will be available that students think is just as good a traditional colleges. There are already many online colleges available, but it has yet to really catch on among the more elite schools. “Robo-professors” are a real possibility for classes / schools that teach very specific skills that can be used over and over again. The less creative a class is, the more likely it is for a robot to take over the teacher’s role.
Many people are very against this transformation taking place, because they believe that a robot cannot possibly take the place of the life experience a teacher brings to a classroom. Students tend to learn at different speeds and in different ways, which teachers can adapt to but robots would be more static in the way that they teach. Teachers are also able to assess students in ways other than traditional tests, which robots would struggle with as well.
I personally believe that technology in the classroom will continue to increase and transform into much more than what it is now, but I do not think it will ever take the place of teachers and professors. Technology works best when it is working alongside human beings. There are also a lot of privacy / security issues with the increase of technology in classrooms. If different websites are collecting data on students all the way from kindergarten through high school, there is a concern of who would have access to all of this data. If this data was made available to colleges or potential employers that would be a major breach of confidentiality for that student. I think this is a definite risk if we start using websites to collect and track student performance over the course of their life. This is the type of technology that will most likely move faster than the law, so it is important for school districts to start thinking about it in advance.
California has become the first state to restrict the type of information education technology industries can exploit:
“Legislators in the state passed a law last month prohibiting educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students from kindergarten through high school; from using the children’s data to market to them; and from compiling dossiers on them.”
Last year California Senator Steinberg also sponsored an “eraser button” for minors in CA to delete their digital footprint. This is a great step, and I believe other states should follow suit. When I was in middle school and high school, Myspace and Facebook were the only social media sites that were being used, but today with endless websites and apps I think it is very important for teenagers to be able to delete things they posted and have some sort of control over what data can be used against them once they are an adult.