Should technology replace teachers? | William Zhou | TEDxKitchenerED

in the past 12 months the world has welcomed the birth of 142 million children yet 63 million of them would never reach high school let alone graduate all of these 143 million children start a life at the same point with similar potentials so why is it that the end result of their education be so vastly different well the sad and actually disappointing answer is that who you are and where you come from matters way more than it should simply being rich can put you a year ahead of others and in fact family income is actually one of the best predictors of a child's success in school and this has created this huge inequality in the world and the best and the worst oh you see two countries if you compare them the difference is actually equivalent of holding a child back for a two full years now studies have shown that a small tweak within the education system can have huge rippling effects within the economy the United States alone can add up to 72 trillion dollars in aggregate GDP across the lifespan of all these 142 million children if they meet the baseline achievement I don't think that's so much to ask and in fact I think our our children should at least meet the base on achievement so as you can see education is a powerful tool to break the cycle poverty and inequality now most of us in this room have gone to school that had this factory model so to speak and why is it called the factory model well you may know that if this factory model was built for the industrial era of twentieth century right in this model subjects were taught separately and children were separated by the the year of their birth and in this model children are taught to sit neatly in their spaces respond to commands be punctual be efficient well something you actually would probably need on a factory floor but maybe not so much today and in this model even the school days and weeks were designed for another era where students have to be led out to work in the fields and when there's always somebody at home at 3:00 in the afternoon information is passed down from an authoritative figure to a student who's sitting just in their spot so this all sounds very old-school right why why is that still around well it turns out this model again was built for the last century and it was built specifically with the purpose of transferring knowledge as efficiently and scalable as possible and when you view in that perspective you know what it actually did its job it did quite well in fact you can argue that literacy around the world went up but it missed out on some key aspects see this model of an instruction create a uniformity across student body and in fact students who have now gone to high school as many as 40 to 60% of them are chronically disengaged towards learn and out of every 10 students that enter school – in Latin America 3 in Southwest Asia and 4 in sub-saharan Africa dropout so if we all know that schooling leads to a better life better health and better prospects how we keep our kids engaged so they stay in school and as we move into this so-called knowledge-based economy where skills matter now more than facts how do we adapt this education system to this new model how do we even prepare our children for jobs that don't even exist yet I think a lot of us forget that ton of jobs that were in today didn't exist two decades ago see from my perspective I think there should be an urgency to improve this education system because today as it stands now we're failing to maximize the potential of our children see equal opportunity and education should mean that you know the system doesn't hold you back or leave you behind his system should instead meet you where you are and set you up for success to be ahead it's not doing that right now and in that way see a high-quality education system should be teaching engaging the learners capturing the management imagination and building on skills skills like critical thinking or creativity and in that last half a decade you know this it's becoming a buzzword even today personalization right it's all about personalization and we're all about precisely and that's really held as the holy grill to achieve this new model of Education but guess what personalized ashley is not a new concept it's actually close to a century old I'll tell you a story in 1926 a gentleman named Sidney presea invented this machine it was sort of this big and it sat on students desks right every student got one of them and it had two modes of instruction right one is called teach and one is called test so as a student you don't need a teacher in that sense you come and sit down review your materials understand what you're being taught and when you're ready at your own pace switch over to the test mode one question at a time will pop up and the Machine have four different levers which the student could press down on them right many of you know that as in today's multiple-choice test version and so the student in a way could go on complete the work at their own pace and learn the material now you can even add a reward dial to this machine it turns out so that when you answer a question correctly you can get say a piece of Ken so if you're a really good student you could actually have a very sweet tooth at the end of day and this by the way was that for any microprocessors before any computing power it's quite genius actually 19:26 I this this was called the teaching machine so why don't we see this teaching machine on desks in today's classroom used by students what turns out precice teaching machine didn't actually create more entrepreneurial more empathetic students nor do they actually focus on teaching the fundamental skills that we talked about today which is say critical thinking or creativity right this teaching machine like many others are sometimes called adaptive learning systems and these systems are reductions in nature they fail to recognize you know the sort of very human oriented very deeply creative and emotional learning environments that we ought to have the high quality learning environment can't be automated nor can it be mass-produced it must be personalized by a professional who understands the readiness the preference and the interests of each learner why it's because see all of us you and I we're all human creatures at the end the day we learned by storytelling all the time when we work as young as a kid it's for now and we're all very emotional creatures at the end of the day so how do we learn from a machine the promise see these professionals that have talked about you you may know them as teachers the promise says this pin has been really tough to scale and do within the k-12 system just because now imagine you know your teacher you've already got so much to do how can you actually personalize one set of instruction to one of your student now I imagine have a class of 30 that's gonna be very tough we will all be better off if we actually had 30 different teacher per 30 soon imagine if I grew up with the tutor who knew me from the time I enter school to the time I graduate probably I'll get better instruction because they know who I am and be connected with me I'm the bonnet and taught me on a personal level but as it stands as a society we simply don't have the resources on the human capital say or the financial side to really achieve this so I know you what you're probably thinking right now is the title of the talk technology has certainly gotten much better technology has now more computing power we're getting to you know now more intelligence so the question is posed should technology to replace teachers well let me go on a little bit of a detour here and I give you another example those of you who are you know fans of chassis oh you'll know this in 1997 Gary Kasparov right then the Russian Grand Master and world chess champion face off IBM's deep blue in so called the battle of the century all right this was the first time as man versus machine and if you had remember this was the first time that machine has triumph and won against humanity in a series of games it was highly publicized and it was really the first time we go hmm perhaps someday our artificial intelligence overlords are going to dominate us and so that's what you know the general public started thinking about but to chess players it was also the first time they started working with computers and in doing so believe it or not by working together with computers they were able to get insights that they wouldn't be able to do before they were able to see these unconventional moves that were played by computers even more recently Google produced this sort of deep mind project and played in a game of Go this traditional Chinese sort of chess like game and it was a game against it was a battle against this go player was very you know well played named Lisa Don in Korea there's a couple months ago and in that game again computers beat out human four to one in a series so you can go go again Wow technology has now advanced in such a way that we wouldn't have thought of before well it turns out see expert go players in that case also learned many different ways to improve on their game so in collaboration together we were able to learn much more than we would have ourselves and I've given you know you two examples of say chess and go but this doesn't just exist within this world of say game play it is actually used in today's real life in fact IBM's Watson of late jeopardy Fame actually is helping see legal professionals doctors and business professionals to make decisions now you may be wondering well how is it doing that well see now today in today's where we have so many different codes and legal documents or medical journals and whatnot it's simply impossible to memorize all of them memorization doesn't matter anymore but the professional at the end of day still had to make that judgment call and it's with IBM's Watson's help that they were able to do so now that brings me back to education see that why I see it should technologies replace teachers no technology here is here to empower and really give teachers of real insights and really reduce and save them time in order for teachers to really excel and be the professional day that they can be and in doing so I think we're going to get to a much better place in working together now there's two ways two main ways I see how it's gonna be done one of which is fairly obvious is that there's so much meaning you know menial tasks that a teacher have to do it many of you are teachers in the audience and you know this right technology easily can automate all of that allowing you and freeing up those times so you can really focus on what matters at the end of the day that's your students it's a relationship you have with the students it's the instructional time that you can give back to your students it also allows teachers to collaborate with one another say a new teacher comes in they're able to now learn from master teachers much more easily they can collaborate not only with a known physical vicinity but also across distances see that's something that technology can really offer it's not about let's just move everything online let's just replace teachers that's not it right and the second piece of it the way I see it is we can now start to give real insights into that to the teachers just like how IBM's deep blue or google's alphago did we're now able to actually make sense of the classroom for the teacher and tell the teachers what's the students needs are right if you look at a classroom you know it is still very hard for a teacher to say differentiate instruction one at a time to 30 different students that's still a little bit impossible to do I mean that's the holy krill but what we're able to do now is start to group students into different groups based on where they're at say before you even enter the classroom imagine now what we can do is able to tell the teacher based on the next piece of content piece of lesson that you're about to teach these three students may struggle a little bit and these two may be ahead so what do you do as a teacher well it turns out you now have the ability and the insight to really truly differentiate instruction and personalize your education towards these different groups of students and in doing so you're really engaging with them on a much more deeper level see education we often forget is very human and personal endeavor and when you couple with great teachers with enabling technologies and methodologies like safe blended learning we now have the not only tease the people but also the technology to really do the personalization of Education at scale I think that's what it's really been missing all this time is really we are now able to scale that across the entire k12 system and when we do that we're not only brain quality education to everybody but we're also giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate in the future thank you

12 thoughts on “Should technology replace teachers? | William Zhou | TEDxKitchenerED”

  1. Do you know what is meant by education and teachers? And, what is meant by Cosmic or natural intelligence? Technology is the gift of GOD. technology should be and will be implemented on our progressive and incremental potential field. we could be integrated and progress ourselves through technology. So it's just a medium. That would unleash our potential. Don't hype about technology, think about the good deed or innovation or work or objective sense of beauty in terms of consciousness and energy. Don't waste much time thinking about such silly topic. Human interaction creates a magnetic field. Do you ever realize that frequency or power? Practice gratitude and kindness. One day one MIT-ian wrote in a article that in near future(2040-2050) the super artificial intelligent machine will be asked "WHERE IS GOD"?… the answer would be "here,right in front of me"…my name is Somnath. again, SOMNATH. ADORE.

  2. The only time I want technology to replace teachers is when I meet discriminating, unfair teachers. Teachers are also human, they have their preferences and they treat students differently based on whether they like the student or not. Computers don't. Technology never judges.

  3. At least technology doesn't go on strike like the traditional teachers do!
    YouTubers don't just stop making tutorial videos because YouTube doesn't pay them well, they make those videos regardless. It shows that they really want to contribute to the society.

  4. it's going to get to a point that the only people making money will be robotics engineers or the creators also electricians.

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