Sunday, May 31, 2020

Welcome to the Real World


How education will change during my career


By Andrew George


What I do as a teacher today will not resemble what I will do as a teacher 20 years from now. Current technological advancements and mindset shifts indicate that major changes are coming. Perhaps the most significant in the role of the educator will be in content delivery, which will be better designed and personalized to the needs of each student through AI. Such technology is already being tested and used in classrooms around the world. 


Electroencephalogram headbands that assess neural activity are helping teachers adjust course content. Overdrive’s reading app tracks student engagement and finds out what content interests them along with suggesting new reading material. While these developments still require the teacher to deliver content, China’s Squirrel AI is using adaptive technology to fully personalize classroom instruction, meaning AI is providing the course materials–not a teacher.


AI can more accurately track a student’s progress compared to a teacher who manages a class of 25 or so, and who likely still grades papers with a red pen. AI can challenge students on their weak spots better than a human, provide content that genuinely interests them, and know when students are most engaged. AI-powered instruction will radically change education as we know it.


Grade levels could effectively be eliminated; nothing holds back student development more than this structure. Only a slim minority of students in each class actually find standardized curriculums engaging enough to elevate their learning effectively. Improved data collection can help connect students with materials and collaborators who are more suited to their abilities and interests, moving them ahead at the most efficient pace.


Getting rid of grade levels and traditional classrooms will provide more opportunities for collaboration. Teachers will lead the charge in this transformation by shifting to project-based learning. For instance, instead of having students write a paper on a historical event, they could create a documentary film, involving those who are interested in acting for the stage, students on a carpentry career path to build a set, and those in a marketing class to promote the event.


Standardized testing will be labeled as utterly useless. Cognitive scoring will easily be assessed through software. There won’t be a point to test students through an exam in a large hall at a designated time despite some students’ performance anxiety, which is something that is rarely done in workplace situations


As an educator, I’m embracing the opportunities AI-powered software will bring to schooling. Teachers will work with their AI companions to help students, focusing on human connections and relationships in ways software simply cannot. This relationship is the most crucial part of teaching today. However, it’s often viewed as a lower priority relative to delivering the curriculum.


Advancements in edtech will free teachers to be more effective at fostering a love of learning. They will no longer be confined to classrooms; instead, these tools will allow students to apply what they learn in the real world. Achieving a balance between teaching knowledge and creating assignments for students to apply what they know is a challenge for education systems around the world. AI will allow teachers to implement this balance, improving student learning and in turn, society, for the better.


About the Author


Andrew teaches English and Film at Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Manitoba, Canada. He’s an award-winning filmmaker, having produced short films and broadcast documentaries. Andrew also worked as a freelance creative consultant, advising companies on marketing strategies and projects, and served as the Creative Director for Bizview Media.

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