If a teacher can be replaced by software they probably should be because teaching is about relationships. I don't believe robots can engage students like a quality teacher. Teachers are not glorified babysitters and it requires far more skill to be an effective teacher than technology companies and journalists will ever admit.
(This post is not going to discuss what makes a quality teacher. In every profession there are different levels of competency. We have all met good and bad doctors yet we don't lump all doctors in together with the bad ones. The same for teachers.)
So many teachers have been reinventing the classroom, implementing technology, new teaching methods and using real world probably solving. Yet rarely do these stories make the news. If you "google" teacher you are more like to get articles about misconduct than stories of achievement and success. By replacing teachers with software we risk returning to the chalk and talk era of rote learning, education is not about rote learning any more. It is about learning how to learn, unlearn and relearn. School is about show casing achievement no matter how big or small. Meeting students where they are at in their learning journey not where someone thinks they should be. This requires more than software, students require reassurances and guidance.
Students in the 21st century are more difficult to engage and behaviour difficulties are not going to be solved by robots or software. Robots and software are easily ignored and are not able to teach students why they should focus on their studies.
I wish "for profit" companies would stop looking at schools as a cash cow and I wish newspapers would start reporting on the amazing things happening in our schools rather than the demise of an admirable career that impacts on the lives of so many.
One thing you have to ask is ... if software companies do manage to invade our classrooms ... who is designing the content of our future classrooms? Who's culture and hidden bias will influence the automated classroom? Who will evaluate the purpose of the classroom content and who will select which pathways students have open to them. Currently students experience different teachers and different values every year and in secondary for every subject. This teaches students how to relate and respond to different people. Implementing a software system from one company will create a uniform learning environment with limited exposure to different cultures, languages and moral values.
My children were offered the choice of an electronic textbook or a paper text. The irony is they still choose the paper text. When I questioned them they said "the eText is really just a PDF of the text, I can't do proper searchers or compare pages".
It would seem in the name of budget publishers are still not producing true online information that meets the expectations of millennials. So my question is will international software companies be able to create software that can cater for the nuances of millennial learning? Will the software designers who were schooled in the 80's and 90's and trained by people who were schooled in the 60's and 70's with a limited budget and a tight deadline truely understand the needs of a futuristic classroom and be able to deliver information that a student wouldn't be able to find online.
My last concern about the automated classroom is cost. Who is going to pay for this? The education cash cow has no money. Schools can not afford to supply quality wifi and enough devices to supply the current demand for technology. The financial outlay for software, computers and AI robotics will not come cheap. Some may argue this will be easily funded because you won't have teacher's wages, however there will be years of overlap while the systems are implemented.
I loved the quote in the last paragraph of the stimulus article.
"Technology is a tool, it's no more a replacement for teaching than it is for parenting," Mr Mulheron, President of the NSW Teachers' Federation, said. "No parent, teacher or student is calling for this. It's being driven by technology companies that want to sell their software and hardware and don't see schools as anything more than a market and students as anything more than a client, that's not education."
Interesting... when you ask https://willrobotstakemyjob.com/ the automation level of teaching it is quite low less than 1% for many roles. Yet when you enter computer programmer the response is 48%. So computer programmers are going to program themselves out of a job...who should be worried?