Teachers: can we be replaced by machines?

A Quote by Sugata Mitra, from his talk at TED,  Feb. 2007.

Whenever you go to a teacher and show them some technology the teacher’s first reaction is, you cannot replace a teacher with a machine — it’s impossible. I don’t know why it’s impossible, but, even for a moment, if you did assume that it’s impossible — I have a quotation from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer whom I met in Colombo, and he said something which completely solves this problem. He said a teacher than can be replaced by a machine should be.

OMG. How true and mystifying this is. Easy to say, get rid of the bad teacher. But I’m proposing here a new way to look at the issue. May teachers be, as a whole, the issue here? May teachers be education’s bottleneck, after all?

I’m starting to think we actually may be. We are the forces opposing to whatever change. We oppose changes in curricula (students ought to study that before this, because it worked for me, essentially); we impose stupid driving-license-style exams we call “quizzes” (weren’t quizzes once upon a time just tv shows?); we focus on “objective” content instead of showing students what it means to pursue a research quest; we still debate over constructivism or, now, connectivism, but our classes are done essentially the same way as Martin Luther’s.

This is one reason good enough to continue my series around myths of teaching and learning.
If I should find the social class which is the least prone to innovation, guess what would that be? Teachers!

Teachers, might the Pink Floyd sing, Leave Your Children Alone!!!

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About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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