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Will computers replace human teachers?

Updated on September 6, 2014
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Will computers replace teachers?

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Being the first Friday of September yesterday, we celebrated Teacher's Day in Singapore. Students arm themselves with flowers, little gifts and well-deserved tributes.

This special day makes one think about how technology will affect our tributes to our favorite gurus in future. With advancing computer and internet technology, computers are fast replacing human teachers.

This possibility leaves us asking the following questions. Would you prefer humans or computers to teach you? Will computers put human teachers out of a job?

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A. Why Computers Make Great Teachers

Computers make wonderful teachers for varying reasons. With computer technology advancing each day, they are becoming increasingly indispensable.

1. They provide instant access to information.

After all, access to information is instant with a computer. Everyone is looking to them for knowledge each day. Why shoukd young millennials be any different?

2. Computers tailor the pace of learning to each student.

Further, students these days learn more with the help of computers. One can learn at one's own pace and take breaks when needed.

3. They can concentrate on instruction.

Then, computers are not bound by administrative needs like human teachers are. They can concentrate completely on instruction.

Such complete attention makes them more effective.

4. Computers can teach concepts just as well or better.

To add, with interactive learning platforms available these days, computers teach learners just as well as human teachers do, or better.

5. Computer-based learning is suitable for the inquisitive and self-motivated.

Moreover, computer-based learning gives learners a head start. It helps young preschoolers learn faster than before.

It helps those with curious minds learn concepts faster.

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B. Why we must have human teachers

The need for human teachers, however, will always exist. We still need someone to ground students in the fine art of humanity.

1. They enable social interaction.

One aspect of this art is social interaction. A student isolates himself from others when in front of a computer, with no reason to socialize.

Unless he is interacting with others on social media platforms, there is limited socialization. Even if his interactions take place via a computer, he needs a teacher to teach him social skills.

2. They help students manage emotions.

Another essential part of socialization is emotional management.

While a computer may teach a student anger management theoretically, it cannot do so on the spot.

Picture a student saying, in front of someone who has insulted him, "Please wait. I need to read what's on my computer before I hit you in the face."

3. Teachers provide discipline.

Further, computers cannot nip behavioral problems in the bud the way a human being can.

Would a computer stop a running student in the hall and say "Go back to class?"

4. They give moral guidance.

If all the above suggestions are not convincing, teachers give moral guidance.

While moral and religious valued flood the internet, it takes another human to help with the implementation.

Using Computers in the Classroom

C. How to integrate computer technology into the classroom

We cannot do without teachers, nor can we dispense with computers. The key, for classroom teaching, is to integrate both.

This is where teachers step forward. They can own the computer and make them helpful learning tool for themselves and their students.

These days, technology has a firm place in schools. For beginning teachers and those less familiar, here is how to make computers part of the classroom.

1. Decide which syllabus topic lends itself to technology.

The first order of business is to decide which part of your syllabus allows you to teach it with technology.

It is not necessary to use it in all cases. It is hard to teach voice projection or poetry recitation with a video demonstration on Youtube alone.

Students need a physical demonstration of the nuances of speech.

2. Find out what technology you can use.

Then, find out what technology is available.

I find Comic Life, at comiclife.com, a boon for Language teachers. It is suitable for teaching sequences in a story. The teacher captures a story in frames, using photos. She then uses each frame to explain what happens in each part of the story.

3. Find out the technological constraints of your students.

Not every student has access to a computer or knows how to use disk drives. Those who do need to acquaint themselves with new applications.

4. Cater the topic to computer technology.

The next step is to make the activity computer-friendly.

Find our which part of the lesson you can teach with a Powerpoint presentation or a Youtibe video.

5. Create a computer-based assignment.

The teacher can create a computer-based assignment related to the activity.

Students may create a multimedia presentation with Powerpoint or Youtube. They may even animated characters via sites such as Xtranormal.com.

The young ones can also do photo collages online, with help of sites such as Fotor.

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D. Will computers replace teachers?

The short answer is no, as teachers are an essential, human element of learning.

But computer technology will enhance teaching quality if integrated and harnessed properly.

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Do you think computers will replace teachers?

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Modern technology has taken the place of some normal human touch. Lots to ponder on here.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Presented and argued well. Some current dangers, of course, but yes, all in all essential to learning. Useful Hub, Michelle.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Interesting and thought-provoking article. I don't think computers will replace teachers altogether. Computers are good because they allow the student to work and learn at his own pace. Research can be done in greater time and detail on the internet. I think teachers will always be needed because there needs to be discussion groups and help from human beings. The teacher's role will be different and there may be less of them needed, but teacher's and the human factor and interaction will always be needed in my opinion.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      No, because we have teacher unions.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I find this hub ironic because I just toured Kent State University with my daughter and they do a surprisingly high number of classes online. You don't have to take them that way, but still . . .

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 2 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Great article midget38. Just from the images above I have learned how much and how young children are today learning with computers. I like how you share the differences of teaching. Thank you for sharing this article. Well worth a read :)

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 2 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Will computers replace teachers? The short answer is NO?

      REPLACE? My dear, the ONLY answer is NO. It would be a sad day indeed if that ever happened. I mean ... would you replace the math teacher with the calculator? Many of my most cherished memories are moments I shared with some of my teachers. Why would anybody even think of doing such a horrible thing to precious young minds? Make no mistake, it would not be a good thing. Just the thought of it is even horrible! -- Good HUB. Voted Up! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I suppose that one day it could happen, but it would be the end of teaching if it did. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      You have made some valid points on the use of computers in the classroom. They really do add to the enrichment of a lesson and kids today need the stimulation of technology to keep them engaged. However, as you mention, teachers are the drivers and guide children on proper use and also act as soundboards and mentors for all classroom activity. Voted up and shared.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Excellent summary of the key issues. We must use each element to their best advantage. Also, this combination will vary depending on the stage of development of each student. Thanks for sharing! Neat! ;-)

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

      I think computers cannot replace a human teacher, but can be used as an additional tool. Example: Learning labs in colleges.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi, I think you hit it on the head so to speak when you said teachers are the ones that give out the discipline, can you imagine children doing what a computer tells them? especially at the teen stage! lol! yes computers are great, but never as great as the human mind, great hub michelle! voted up and shared, nell

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      If they could get away with it they would. I recently posted about a related topic on my page.

      I hope this NEVER happens by the way. We need good teachers and we need them badly.

      You did a great job with this hub. I will be sure to share.

    • aerospacefan profile image

      John M 2 years ago from Chicago

      Great hub - I hope teachers will always be part of the classroom. Computers have their place but as learning tools. The human interaction is key to learning and cannot be replicated by a robot.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Computers can't make students feel special. Teachers can.

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 2 years ago from Southern California

      They already have, at least in college. Even though you pay dearly for college courses, you are expected to spend three hours per semester unit a week outside of class to do well. That means, one class, like Math 64, is 4 units, so I need to spend 12 hours on homework a week, on top of the 4 hours a week in class I spend. So, basically, I'm paying dearly to do work online, aka: I'm teaching myself.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Yes, it is possible but then, we will all become robotic. I say no, we need some human touch in our daily lives. Nothing can ever replace a teacher's heart.

      Good insightful hub.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Devika.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Manatita.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, Suzette, that's the point....the human factor cannot be done without!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      True, DealforaLiving.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Paula!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Tsmog.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, CMoneyspinner, it would be a really sad day indeed. The human factor can never be left out of the equation.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Woe betide us if that day came, Bill.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      And they are the drivers of the use of IT too, Dianna. How else do kids manage the use, indeed!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Bill.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Absolutely correct, Linda.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks so much, Mister Hollywood!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      And computers are, themselves, the brainchildren of human beings! Not good if they became Frankenstein's monsters!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Aerospacefan!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, Pawpawwrites, only teachers can!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Has benefits and disadvantages, Wonderful.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Cristina!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Healthnews!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Well the headline made me read! lol - No I sure hope computers don't replace teachers. Things in life are becoming so impersonal (just look at me here typing on the computer to you haha) - Kids especially need moral guidance and connection - creativity, art and the aspects of what makes us human can sometimes be felt best when we're in front of another person learning. Then there's empathy...the biggest one of all. No hiding behind the computer when we're face to face; critical for children imo.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      No, it seems like cool interaction to me, Brite Ideas! Glad to know you!!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I agree that computers can never replace a human being, for all the reasons that you mentioned. A great article!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Aviannovice!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Some very important and vital points!

      Computers no doubt rule the world, but I don't think they will replace human teachers. Nice. thoughtful article. Voted up and sharing on HH!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Chitra!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      We have had a shortage of teachers here for a long time: low pay and long hours they deal with. Computers will help with that situation, but I don't think they will ever replace teachers completely.

      Voted UP, and shared.

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 2 years ago from California

      Even with computers teachers are still needed. But Math, a bulk of Language Arts instruction, and Science should be moved to computers. Teachers will be needed to monitor the students and help them if they can't properly understand what the computer is trying to teach them. That way kids can learn at their own pace and not be held back by slower students or moved onto new material when they haven't mastered earlier material. However some things are best taught by people like writing skills, hands on science and social studies. Teachers can't be replaced but they can be used more effectively. The idea of one teacher trying to teach 30 kids with varying levels of ability needs to become a thing of the past.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      I worked for Toshiba for 10 years developing online training courses. These courses were used to certify Toshiba's dealer technicians in the installation and operation of Toshiba's business telephone systems. These systems were very flexible and there were over 1,000 instructions that could be used depending on the installation. I used a program that could create simulations of specific installations. They would not allow the student to proceed in the programming unless, the correct data was entered. In my last year, my courses resulted in issuing 13, 000 certifications.

      What I have found is that people have different learning styles. Some are very comfortable with class room instruction, while others prefer online instructions. However blended instruction seems to fit both styles. That is, the core of the course is on the computer, but in a classroom with an instructor available, if needed and to augment the instruction.

      Your article was well written and very balanced. Voting up and all the other good stuff.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Computers are a useful tool, but a tool never the less. As peoplepower73 stated there are different learning styles. Some students will find the computer more useful and some students will need more human input. I suspect it also depends on the subject matter.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, they certainly will, Mary!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, it depends on the subject.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, learning styles governs whtether computers should be used. Advantages and drawbacks, as with all things!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, it does, dahoglund!

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 13 months ago from Austin, Texas

      Supplement. Assist. Serve as an educational tool or resource. Never replace. Today is May 3rd, National Teacher Appreciation Teacher. I would never thank a computer for being a good teacher. But I would appreciate the human that programmed it to teach me well. :)

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