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What a teacher might wish technology to do for him (her)?

Updated: Jun 8, 2019


It’s the school holidays and teachers should be enjoying themselves holidaying somewhere in the world! Perhaps if we stop some of them in their tracks, we can steal some time ask them what they would like technology to be help them to do. What do you think they will say if we manage to get them to speak up? I am going to guess.


Can part of my lesson planning be automated?


When teachers come to school in the morning, could technology perhaps help them to organise their resources according to the day’s schedule? Earlier on teachers might have already organised their lessons on a learning system according to the lesson objectives and scheme of work. In fact, the whole term’s lesson plans can be arranged for the next term as the system scrawl the resource bank and internet to search and assess new resources to be incorporated into the flow. Part of the morning planning routine of a teacher can then be to evaluate and recommend online resources or apps to decide where to place them to enhance the flow.


Can I know my students’ profiles and needs better?


Next, to get ready to meet the classes for the day, it will be great if teachers can receive prior learning and profile of each student as well as how these may match with the learning prerequisites. Artificial intelligence technology may be able to profile each student across multiple variables in academic, affective, skills, social aspects and more yet-to-be-discovered parameters. Expert advice may be given to each teacher in a just-in-time manner according to the flow of the lessons being planned. If privacy concerns can be resolved, some teachers may want technology to watch students’ individual moves to pick up each students’ moods and composure throughout the school day to watch for behaviours that need clarification or human intervention.


Can I get actionable insights from big data analytics?


If analytics can be carefully thought through with experienced educators and leaders, teachers may be more than keen to be able to connect the array of factors driving achievement at the individual student level. Teachers may also welcome the just-in-time support that technology can give to them when the system detects learning and behavioural patterns. Some teachers will enjoy being a learning facilitator in AI-enriched classroom. It’s like having special powers to know things that only super brains can pick up from the vast amount of inputs in double quick time. Like a specialist doctor, teachers will be able to guide students to navigate challenging parts of learning with actionable insights. Preventive actions can be taken to keep undesirable situations at bay in a brave new world.


Can I train self-directed learners and save time for higher order work?


Not all guidance has to be provided by humans. Much of the guidance can be given by technology which has learnt through the wealth of data collected as well as individual student profiles to provide useful advice. Teachers become better informed and have more bandwidth to troubleshoot as each student participate in self-directed technology-facilitated learning. Empowering every student to participate in metacognition and self-directed learning allows reduces the dependence on teachers to have to perpetually deliver. Teachers can take breaks while they observe students’ behaviours. Yet some will rather choose to not to idle their time away day-dreaming learning possibilities but instead glue their eyes on management consoles as technology flags out individual and group performance analysis on-the-fly in beautiful visual analytical charts.


Can my hope of helping every student at their own pace truly materialise?


Each day, a teacher technically keeps watch over every aspect of between 40 to 160 students! That is probably only about half or one-third of a teacher’s roles in school. So it a real mammoth task to talk about differentiated learning even if you preach the learning stations approach to classroom pedagogy. That may explain why classrooms are still very much the same shape and students still experience learning much like what their parents or even grandparents did. Technology can personalise the learning through adaptive assessment and learning activities so that each student can ideally learn at their own pace. They can engage content that is just one or two notches higher than their levels of understanding. Every student may even experience learning differently because technology can customise the look-and-feel to set the stage for a really motivating learning journey. Teachers will certainly be able to look and feel like a highly productive pro when they can see their students progress up the learning curve individualised with the help of technology.


Can I really save time and make learning more authentic?


If there is one thing that irks every teacher, it is the need to lug piles of books home to mark and to do so over the weekends. How often do you see a teacher marking their students’ scripts at cafes as if it is their hobby? If you are a teacher, you would probably hope to not just book your holiday when the next year’s school term forecast is out. You may even dream of having a day by the beach without the cares of scripts to mark every weekend. So, if technology can do the marking and inform the teacher without all these manual works, it will really make a teacher’s time more productively spent and provide more family or personal time for teacher to recharge. Instead of marking worksheets, technology can change the assignment so that it is not only more meaningful for the students to do, with videos and real-world situational stories thrown in, but it is not boring or predictable. Like a game or situational exercise where students do real market-relevant stuff and technology including mobile devices, Internet-of-things and video-editing makes these tasks simple and easy to use. Learning can be real fun while technology focus the energy of the teacher to productive areas like evaluation of creative composition and quality of impact. Instead of marking theoretical exercise, assessment can even be crowd-sourced from the public in real-time. A teacher will no longer need to assess based on idealised theoretical rubrics but real market value of the creative outcome from knowledge being applied.


Exciting future ahead


The dream list will continue even as pockets of the dream are forming up. In fact, any teacher can hold the belief that someone is working hard to make his (or her) dream a reality. But are you prepared when some of these wishes become a reality? Are you prepared if these dreams are realised sooner than you think? Take a good look at how some of the narrative in technology has changed during the past six months. For example, you have just witnessed how the upsize of mobile broadband packages have changed our mindsets and lifestyles towards the watching of more videos on our phones. Very soon, we will be buying stuff you like in these videos and making payments through our phones. Likewise, our mindsets toward what is involved in learning will have to change in the next six months. It helps to put aside fear and embrace the future. If change is inevitable, we will enjoy the change journey better if we give yourself the permission to let go of some unhelpful beliefs of the past and courageously embrace the future.


Author: Gary Tsu, Founder and Future Trend Curator at CHRYL Global Ventures PL.

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