Make computers teach pupils, says education minister

The Sunday Times is reporting that Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister, unveiled plans for computers to take the lead in “imparting knowledge” while teachers focus on “mentoring, coaching and motivating”…

In what he describes as a “different” role, staff will be expected to complement and boost the effectiveness of online learning by delivering education’s “human elements”.

“Technology is a tool to empower teachers so they can concentrate on motivation and character,” Hancock said.

Ministers have set up a Whitehall unit to examine how children can be taught by computers that use sophisticated algorithms to set the pace according to individual ability.

Hancock believes online tuition is “incredibly powerful” and could help to raise Britain from the bottom of the international educational league tables.

The changes, which he wants to be implemented as soon as possible, are likely to be resisted by teaching unions amid fears that they could undermine their status.

Hancock is launching a public consultation into the plans, which he says will empower teachers and enable pupils to maximise their potential. The computer programs will be able to adapt lessons to maximise the “buzz” that pupils get from learning.

He cited scientific studies in America that suggest less able pupils who struggle to keep up with the class do not get the same physiological “kick” from lessons as their smarter peers.

As a result they are more likely to become disruptive and to underachieve. Hancock believes computer systems could help by ensuring that fewer pupils are left behind…

“It’s amazing that technology and the internet have changed so much of our lives, but so many classes taught in schools and colleges are still done the way they were done 100 years ago,” he said.

The minister claims that in principle there is “growing enthusiasm” among teachers for the change. However, he acknowledged that there will probably be a backlash from the profession…

More at:  Make computers teach pupils, says education minister (subscription required)

What do you think of an increased role for technology in teaching with it taking the lead in terms of ‘imparting knowledge’?  Exciting? Crazy? Insulting? Please le us know in the comments, on twitter or by taking part in our poll… 

Would you welcome computers that take the lead in ‘imparting knowledge’ in class



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