Last week a tech giant announced an amazing new gadget, Amazon unveiled a home robot called Astro, a rolling contraption about the size of a small dog with a screen for the head and cup holder so it could bring it to the owner drink.
This made us think-what could the rise of low-cost robots mean for education?
Neil Selvin, a research professor of education at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, digs into the subject. He is the author of the book, “Should Robots Replace Teachers?” It turned out that he was also paying close attention to the news of this Amazon Mazon robot – and he has some thoughts on why this is important for all gazette teachers.
He worries that the impact on how these robots are used may not be positive. (And it’s worth noting that Amazon Mazon Astronomy has already risen Privacy concerns And The question of whether anyone really needs a home robot.) That’s why Selvin thinks educators should have a conversation about which parts of teaching should be automated and which parts should be left for humans, no matter how capable the technology.
Selvin was paired this week for the latest episode of the AdSerge podcast. And he introduced a teacher’s approach to robotics and automation in education – he says successes in new technologies are often missing from the Silicon Valley pitch.
Edsurge: To some readers of education, the title of your book is ‘Should Robots Replace Teachers?’ Asking such a question – may seem forbidden. Were you going to make it that way?
Neil Selvin: The title was actually given to me by the publisher. That was not my idea. And I thought it was a terrible title. I smelled a lot about it. And I initially tried to write a kind of disclaimer a few months ago, ‘Obviously this is a silly question.’ But as much as I’ve thought about it, it’s a really nice question because the question might be, ‘Can robots replace teachers?’ And I think the answer is yes, they could.
But the answer should present the idea that it is worth it. The question is about the values you have. If we can do this technically, should we? And if so, how?
The technology is here. In theory, this could happen. But what do we want to be? And that in a way puts the responsibility on us as human beings, but the agency also gets back on it. We have control over it. Let’s have a conversation – a kind of debate. This is not a clear answer to “yes” or “no”.
Your book contains many examples of physical robots that have been used in class. It seems that teaching robots are not as far-fetched as some might think.
Has been interested in teaching physical robots in the classroom for 20 years. One of them is a Japanese robot named Saya, who was this great dictatorial type of robot who stood in front of the class and gave orders and all this class was under control – and looks terrible. This was a really good example of what we call the Wizard of Oz approach. Behind the scenes there was a person who was basically typing on a laptop and a teacher was controlling it. You can only have a puppet in the classroom.
And robotists refer to “care giving” as opposed to “care receiving”. Softbank Robotics has a robot called Robot No.. And a phone call came Pepper A few years ago. This is a kind of bias. There is a seal of the name Unemployment.
These are the robots with which students interact. And often it’s like less capable peers. Students have to teach the robot to do certain things. And [follows] Seymour Pepert’s idea is that you learn by doing technology to do something. This in a way leads to the 1980s theory Social constructivist teaching.
And this technology works very well, especially with younger students, most often with students with autism, for example. And that’s another thing you can have in the classroom that just creates a sense of interaction and a kind of collaborative learning. But at the end of the day, he’s not a teacher robot.
They are physical robots. But you mentioned that there are a lot of software nowadays run by artificial intelligence that have the taste of a robot teacher. Do you think people may not realize how much they already have in today’s class?
Absolutely. The most comprehensive AI is content that you don’t understand. So spell checkers, for example, or the Google search algorithm, where Google searches and says through online information, these are the things that are actually most relevant to your search query, and then it decides, but we don’t think about it as AI in general. .
In most of the educational software we use, these automated decisions are made by highly compressed forms of AI. And most of the time you won’t see it as scary or scary or exciting. This is just one part of what the software does. So now it’s interesting to think about what kind of software we have in our classroom. Perhaps the most obvious are personalized learning methods, the kind of teaching-recommendation system that has come out over the last five years. Summit learning was a kind of popularity in K-12 in the US Another major system called Century AI is used in Europe. And it’s software that literally monitors what students do in terms of online learning and then makes recommendations on what to do next. It sounds like a very simple thing, but if you think about it, it’s a really high-level pedagogical decision that a teacher would normally make based on all sorts of different variables, but now we’re sending it to the software.
And in Australia, very, very low-level decisions are being made for very narrow things. We had a company that was pushing automated class roll calls. At the beginning of the day, who is in the class, you tick the register. It can recognize faces in a couple of seconds. There are now systems that monitor students to see if they are using their equipment properly.
All these things are lingering and by themselves. You may not notice every single one of those little things, but if you put it all together, we are suddenly in an environment as teachers and students where a lot is being assigned to the machine. And there’s a whole bunch of questions.
It’s clever because it can do a lot of work for us that you might not want to do, but there’s a whole bunch of other things that might tell you, “Wait a minute, there’s more to it than just a very basic one.” The decision is being made. What it means to teach and what it means to learn are actually very important parts. ”