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“In the end it is the poor who will be chained to the computer; the rich will get teachers."

Quoted from an article in Forbes magazine by Diane Ravitch, that is quoted in Jane Healy’s “Failure To Connect.”

I suspect in the near future the poor will have YouTube and Khan Academy. And most teachers will be without a job.

It will really be our own fault. We really haven't educated the public as fully as is necessary for them to support a more enlightened school system. We haven't even developed a self monitoring system for our own profession, accepting the ideology of various governments to be catalyst for educational change and we have accepted our current high school system of pedagogy as being locked into an archaic practice of "sorting" winners from losers simply so that Universities don't have to take responsibility for their own sorting practices. Yes, we are in a bit of spot here, and if public education functions ONLY as such a sorting and grading machine, well, we best be prepared for a real machine to do the sorting.

Teachers are an incredibly expensive machine, often they are seen as difficult to program as they don't always do as they are told. Computers are not only cheaper, they are completely programmable, they do as they are programmed to do. If education is seen as the delivery of substance, and this substance is measured though standardized multiple-choice testing, it just stands to reason that the best machine will win out. Under this philosophy of education, under this social understanding, under the imposed sorting dictate, it is clear that The Machine will win out, the human will lose.

But of course if we widen the scope of our tests to include more human characteristics; to include that stuff that is so very difficult to measure -- and perhaps all the more valuable for being un-measurable -- then The Machine doesn't stand a chance. Machines are not good drama teachers! Machines can't comprehend emotions! Machines don't love and they don't play and they don't live! Machines aren't human! If we give up the notion that machines will somehow, by their very existence, enhance our humanity, then human teachers become indispensable. However they only become indispensable if pedagogy moves away from a delivery system of information: away from being a sorting system for Universities, and moves towards becoming a force purposefully used to move the student towards developing competencies which enhance the individual's ability to function in healthy and sustainable ways that allow and nurture our shared view of humanity.

Of course it doesn't help that some teachers see technology as an answer to student engagement issues. Seeing that kids are attracted to computers some people erroneously believe that this stupor represents learning.... nor does it t help that Mr. Jenkins keeps showing YouTube videos -again erroneously accepting that this SYNTHETIC experience is close enough to real experience to be thought of as real.- But most of all it really doesn't help that video technology can record and replay the rote-lecture-teacher-centric model of educational delivery and the Internet can deliver this "educational content" at the beck and call of parents and students. Yes all this is very unfortunate because unless the greater community really wakes up to smell real coffee burning, the teacher centric practice will simply become video centric practice.
And that's the end of teachers.

And the flipped classroom? Certainly it is an answer that attempts to deal with the opportunity of available video lectures in order to give more time for individual assistance and independent learning. BUT, STILL it is a system of "stand and deliver," not particularly interesting for the learner and without the interaction of our humanity and myth and narrative that makes learning meaningful. It does not attempt or even address the limitations of 'one size fits all educational programs in a Globalized workforce. It does not make any room for a student-self-designed and teacher mentored learning environment. It fails to address the real problems of student engagement and instead puts a twist (flip?) on the same old, same old.

So really the way to keep teachers teaching in the onslaught of technology is for teachers to teach the individual child, to teach through strong healthy relationships that engage in human activities which computer and video and robotics can't simulate. To truly separate the teaching practice from that of a machine, the system needs to break from the one size fits all into a more responsive student centric model of teaching, wherein educators teach individual students subjects of meaning using real experiences that the child holds inside of them, not as a lesson on life, but as part of their life. When the preciousness of the student is fully respected within the process of education, then we will all be rich. And the machine will be recognized as subservient to the masterful teacher.