Through the years, robots have taken over many jobs. First, they replaced horses and wagons and horses and plows, then they started to replace people. A few examples of artificial intelligence (AI)s replacing humans are:
- Mobile check deposits;
- The Scan and Go at Walmart;
- The AI Autopilot in commercial flights;
- Spam filters;
- Lyft, Ubber, and other ridesharing apps;
- Plagiarism checkers;
- Spam filters;
- And there are so many more!
So, here’s the real question that has been plaguing the education world—the hot debate, if you will. “Will AI replace teachers?”
What is AI in Teaching?
China is letting AI in the classroom for several reasons. The biggest use for AI in Chinese classrooms is in the form of facial recognition technology. The school systems there use AI as a teacher’s assistant, per se, to “take attendance”. This technology is also capable of handling new school enrollments.
China is also looking at using AI to analyze teachers as they teach the children and monitor their and their students’ performance.
What about in America? How is AI used in teaching here?
If you’ve ever heard of, seen, or used a diagnostic test for placing a student in a curriculum or for tailoring a curriculum to meet a student’s need, then you’ve encountered AI in education. And if you’re familiar with this form of AI in the classroom, you probably already know how much AI can improve student outcomes.
What Is an AI Teacher?
The AI teacher, otherwise known as the mechanical teacher, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a computer or machine that can teach a student according to the level it’s programmed to teach.
So Why Do We Need a Human Teacher?
While the thought of an infallible computer teaching your child might seem promising, an AI cannot adapt its teaching to its student mid-lesson or read its student’s emotions, as a human teacher can. It cannot further simplify problems that students are having problems with unless it’s programmed to do so. It also cannot inspire its students as a human teacher can.
The biggest benefit of the human teacher is that she gives her students that human connection that they need. She also enhances their development of social skills.
Will AI Replace Teachers?
There are some who believe that teachers will be completely replaced by robots by the year 2027. One reason for this is that there is a demand for teachers today that is not being met.
Additionally, human teachers do carry with them some disadvantages. Some teachers are selfish. Others can be complacent or of poor character. Some can have a compromising character or not be as knowledgeable about particular subjects as they should be. These flaws can be corrected, though, through management and proper monitoring.
However, if you ask anyone the top qualities of a good teacher, an AI cannot meet these standards.
Here are a few:
- Friendly attitude;
- Listening skills;
- Respectful attitude;
- Strong work ethic;
- Discipline Skills; and,
- Adept at creating a kid-friendly environment.
AI cannot replace teachers. They cannot give a child what they need. Students need the love, transaction, student-teacher rapport, and collaboration that an AI cannot provide.
However, this does not mean that the AI is not necessary. AI is wonderful in a classroom! It makes the human teacher’s job easier and helps her to be more efficient. This added efficiency allows her the time she needs to work more one-on-one with her students to provide more adaptability and understanding for them. Adaptability and further understanding, of course, are two other things that an AI teacher would struggle to provide.