05 October 2019

    Biddi Rorke

    Will technology replace teachers?

    Technology can open doors, expand minds and change the world. It assists teachers and lecturers, ­but won’t make them obsolete any time soon, say experts.

    Here are four ways technology is already changing the landscape of teaching environments around the world – and how it is set to advance in the future.

    Virtual and augmented reality

    Instead of relying on textbooks and lecture notes when it comes to anything from ancient Greek history or how to dissect a frog, students can simply put on virtual reality (VR) headsets and experience the scenario themselves, complete with audio and 3D characters. They’re learning about foreign cultures without having to travel, conducting scientific experiments without the risk of explosions and acid spills, and immersing themselves in medical procedures without needing human cadavers. As VR and augmented reality (AR) become even more affordable, they are set to be a standard teaching aid in the future.

    Artificial intelligence

    While a robot is not going to replace the teacher anytime soon, artificial intelligence (AI )is already streamlining admin tasks (such as marking multiple-choice exams), which affords teachers more time to concentrate on real-time class activities. As AI becomes more sophisticated, experts predict machines will be able to read students’ facial expressions and adapt the pace of a lesson if they are struggling with a particular concept. There’s also the possibility that, in the near future, AI-powered machines will be able to tailor an entire curriculum to suit each student’s needs. Computers will act as individual tutors in classrooms filled with diverse learning styles. And the teacher’s role will shift to facilitator and guide.

    Cloud technology

    Farewell to the thudding bookbag laden with files and exam pads. The wonders of the Cloud are set to become indispensable for teachers and learners around the world. This technology not only allows everyone to upload and access material, but it also enables students to access data more conveniently than ever before. Cloud-based textbooks have already revolutionised the way lower-income students access educational tools and materials.

    Online group collaboration and remote interaction

    Technology already enables forms of communication and collaboration our parents only dreamed of. For instance, students in a classroom in rural Africa can learn about the North Pole by following the blog posts of a team of scientists in the region – and even live chat via video-conferencing technology. In the future, online collaboration between students in all parts of the world will become standard. It will be common practice to interact with other learners, teachers, authors, scientists and experts to enhance learning in many different fields.

    Remember, relationship-based usage of the technology already available to students and teachers is the best way to ensure an educational future we can all be happy with.

    Vodacom believes in the importance of education in building digital societies. Find out how we are embracing a culture of learning in a digital age here!

    Biddi Rorke