Do you recollect your Maths teacher from Fifth Grade or your Physics lecturer from college? Chances are that you still do remember them and associate a lot of memories, both pleasant and bitter, with your time spent in school and college. A lot of our childhood was based on the time we spent in schools. In a given day about seven to eight hours were spent at school and woe betide those poor souls who studied at boarding schools; a life of regimental discipline, with fixed times for every single activity.
It was in the early nineties that computers began making their presence felt in CBSE schools across the country. What started as a basic weekly one hour class in BASIC, LOGO and DOS in the early years has changed completely now. No one imagined that Computer Science would be a study stream of its own and the IT revolution would run in parallel to the growth in colleges offering Computer Science as a full-fledged study stream!
The past decade has seen remarkable progress in the evolution of computing. High-range, powerful computers in compact sizes to massive robots and humanoid robots – the growth of technology has been staggering! We are at an interesting phase in the development of society as a whole. On one side, we see computers bridging gaps in learning in rural areas on the other we are seeing automation taking away jobs and IT companies warning everyone to be ready for job-cuts.
The big question is that along with IT firms, will we see a scenario wherein we will no longer have human teachers and have computers and robots replacing teachers??
To be honest, the answer is a “BIG FAT NO”.
The sceptics may state reasons like:
- A computer never gets tired and will not take sick-leave.
- A computer has no emotions and will not get angry or influenced.
- A computer cannot punish a student.
What we need to realize is that education is not just the mere transfer of information or knowledge. A teacher moulds a student and creates a lasting impact, a teacher understands and identifies the weak and strong points of a child’s intellect and helps the child to overcome his/her limitations and overcome them with care, guidance and affection. When a teacher interacts with a child and offers feedback for a test, the teacher does with a degree of empathy, a robot or an algorithm will just say if an answer is right or wrong and compute a grand total for the total number of marks; a teacher goes beyond this logic. A teacher can sit down with the child and explain concepts or theories and drill it down to the simplest possible way so that every single child understands the topic or realizes why the answer is wrong. Teachers motivate and encourage students to overcome failures and excel at studies and sports.
No computer or robot will be able to do all this.
Today technology plays a huge role in education. From digital learning solutions offering a complete educational ecosystem with e-books, learning resources, animated videos to online submission of assignments and grading; the life of both teachers and students has simplified to a great extent. In addition to this, the concept of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs is changing the way learning is being acquired. Today learning is not limited by a physical location. Learners have the advantage of taking up a self-paced course and learning at their convenience. All of this would never have been possible without the growth of computers and affordable internet connectivity.
Technology can only complement a human teacher. Whatever progress humankind achieves, the role of the actual human teacher will always remain, as every child/learner is unique and every problem has to be handled with care and a customized solution is to be offered. You can make a robot to think and perhaps make a logical ‘Yes/No’ decision; but it would still need a human to program it and make it work. Maybe some administrative tasks can be automated but the actual process of teaching and guiding the learner would still need a human teacher.
To conclude, the human teacher will never ever be fully replaced!