Press one to pay a bill, press two to hear your balance and so on until you get to the last option, press nine if you actually want to speak to a human. Sound familiar? Call centres are almost all automated. Car production lines are automated, lots of packing and sorting agencies are automated. In this world of automated technology with computers taking more of our jobs, could teaching be the next automated profession?
Yesterday I sat in a training session about behaviourism and stayed awake. Anyone who has been on a training day will know that there is a point within the course that you start planning the evening meal or mentally write your shopping list. Not so this time, the tutor was engaging, so engaging I cannot remember my mind wondering once. Having been a lecturer for the last ten years, I appreciate what a difficult task this is to keep your audience entertained for a whole day. No small wonder that a large number of comedians were once teachers, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders to name a few.
The classroom of today has evolved greatly since my early days of teaching.
As a secondary student, I remember lessons that included technology such as an overhead projector and a whiteboard. This is in great contrast to the classroom of today. The majority of classrooms have projectors and computers so that powerpoint presentations can be given. Smartboards are an everyday sight. Students can touch and interact with their learning as well as save a hard copy of any notes. The smart board will allow you to show videos and interact with several mediums of learning at once.
With the constant advancement in technology, where will the classroom of the future take us? The tablet generation could mean that each individual table will have a tablet mounted on it, where notes can be taken and presentations given. This would allow those with a learning difficulty to change font and background colour to a type that would aid their learning. Speech recognition could allow computers to then directly take notes from the lecturer as well as allowing essays to be written fast and simple without touching a keyboard, aiding students with dyslexia to compete on the highest level.
The advancements in gaming controls such as Wii motion and Xbox Kinect could result in practical subjects such as mechanics and construction being taught only in the classroom, with the practical skills being assessed through computer simulation. In turn, this would be an easier assessment and would mean students who were absent for that day could easily pick up their assessment when they returned. Health and Safety executives everywhere will breathe a huge sigh of relief because a mistake here will result in a fail, not an injury. This is also a relatively cost-effective method to constantly practice techniques.
The biggest question with all this technology within the classroom is will all this eventually replace the teacher? The classroom of the future could include the following:
- Computers that know when you log the register could be automatic. Tablet technology which could teach you everything at your seat, ask you questions and mark your work as you proceed.
- Subjects that can be assessed through simulation using motion technology.
Could teaching be the next profession that is made obsolete due to technology? In universities, this may become a likelihood. In compulsory education, this is unlikely as someone needs to be present to make the youngsters sit down, engage and stay in the class. Teachers may have to qualify in behaviour techniques and ICT before they qualify in teaching strategies. It is a possibility that the classroom of the future could contain teaching assistants and behaviour specialist and no teacher.
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