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How Technology Innovations Will Improve, Not Render Obsolete, the Teaching Profession

How Technology Innovations Will Improve, Not Render Obsolete, the Teaching Profession

If anyone was concerned that constantly improving technology might eventually threaten the teaching profession as a whole, Thomas Arnette of the Christen Institute provides comfort in his white paper Teaching in the Machine Age: How innovation can make bad teachers good and good teachers better.

"As artificial intelligence increasingly takes on human work, the most valued and secure human jobs will be those that require complex social skills—such as teaching," Arnette reassures.

Rather, innovation in technology will help improve education while ensuring that all students are exposed to quality instruction.

Because improving technologies provide non-experts with ways to perform some of the many duties experts have, Arnette argues that "non-experts working with new technologies can take care of routine tasks so that experts can focus their attention, skills, and intuition on challenges that demand expertise."

"In industries, such as teaching, where professionals are under great pressure to do and accomplish more than they have in the past, assistance from non-experts and computers can be a huge boon to professionals," he says.

Arnette uses the example of content available through companies like Khan Academy.

As students learn content through the videos and learning tools Khan Academy offers, they are reinforcing the foundational knowledge their teachers have already taught them, helping them to be stronger learners moving forward.

"For expert teachers, these technologies give students reinforcement and practice on content the teacher has already covered, provide additional means for adjusting instruction to students' individual needs, and gather real-time data on students' learning so that teachers can provide students with appropriate learning activities and interventions," Arnette says.

Arnette specifically indicates three circumstances where innovative technology can elevate the teaching profession:

  1. When schools lack expert teachers.
  2. When expert teachers must tackle an array of student needs.
  3. When expert teachers need to teach more than academics.

"As we move into the future, one of the most important gifts we can give students is the confidence and ability to thrive in a novel and complex world transformed by artificial intelligence. Fortunately, innovations that commoditize some elements of teacher expertise also supply the tools to raise the effectiveness of both non-experts and expert teachers to new heights and to adapt to the new priorities of a 21st-century work force and education system," Arnette concludes.

Read his full paper here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

12/19/2016

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