The Criterion

Tech, or Teachers?


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In an age of touchscreen tablets and tiny pocket computers that allow us to communicate with people thousands of miles away in an instant, something curious has happened, or should I say, not happened. All the way back in the stone age, humans used tools made of sticks and stones to break bones, build houses, and cultivate the land. By the industrial age, people had turned in the stone axes for mechanical steel plows and steam engines. And now, in the information age, we have massive nuclear power plants and all in one telephones/ computers/ game consoles/ watches/ calculators/ libraries/ notebooks (and on and on and on) the size of a calculator. This is what we do as humans, we progress. One day their will probably be flying cars and Sunny D that tastes like something besides chalk. So some are starting to question, “Why has the classroom not gone through such drastic changes?”

I can already hear the voices chiming in from the audience. “But classrooms have changed! We have chromebooks, smart-boards, and internet routers in every room! Our great-grandparents had one room schools! They had to trek 5 miles in the drenching rain each day to get their education!”

Yes, all these things have changed in our classrooms. One classroom in Central has more advanced technology than the first space shuttles had. But it’s not the advancement of technology in the classroom that we’re talking about, it’s the structure of the classroom and how students use the tools given to them.

When you think about it, students use the technology for schoolwork the same way they would use a textbook.

Teacher in the 50’s: Take out your textbooks and go to page 563, do the questions, and hand them tomorrow morning.

Teacher in the present: Go get your chromebooks and go to, page 563 in your online textbook, answer the questions on edmodo, turn them in by 11:59pm tonight.

Now there’s nothing wrong with this change (unless you are in the sizable section of the population that studies better with a book in your hand), but if you asked someone from even the 19th century what education would look like in 2016, they would have a wildly different story to tell.

This is what they thought future education would look like. Students sitting at their desks, a teacher in the corner, and a large machine that the teachers would feed books into. The machine teaches students all they need to know, the teacher is just putting the books into the machine. Now obviously this was a little exaggerated, even for the 19th century. But classrooms could become a lot more like this in our lifetime.

Special AI (artificial intelligence) programs are being developed that could act more as teachers than textbooks. The learning website Khan Academy is an early example of this type of technology. This website not only acts as a container for textbooks and worksheets. It actually learns about how each of its student users learn and progress on their website. It then gives the student a more tailored learning experience based on the individual student. This is the future of education, many schools use Khan Academy for their students, and some charter schools are using even more advanced programs to enhance their students’ learning experience.

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The student news site of Bridgeport Central High School
Tech, or Teachers?