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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tutors: The Future of Education

I've been depressed lately concerning the fact that I'm no longer "a real teacher." I'm "only a tutor." (boo hoo, sigh, pout) Now don't get me wrong; I believe that tutoring helps students and helping students is my goal. Chris Scullion has gotten tired of listening to me whine, though, and has written this blog post to help me understand the future of education as he sees it. I've got to say, I feel a lot happier now. I'm a TUTOR! Vicki

“I for one welcome our new computer overlords.” Ken Jennings had it right when he lost to IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy. Computers and robots are taking over various tasks previously and currently handled by people.  By some estimates, 80% of all welds today are done by robots. When was the last time you visited a human bank teller?  You can even check out at the grocery store or hardware store using a computer instead of a human cashier.  You should be able to figure out your chosen career’s longevity by watching for signs of computer automation.

What about teaching?  Vicki (the owner of this blog) is a teacher.  Or rather, she has been a teacher and likely will be again.  Right now, she’s a tutor.  She recently gave a workshop at the University of Georgia on the use of video in the classroom.  She has an article published on classroom “flipping,” where students watch video lectures at home on the computer and do what we would call “homework” in the classroom under the watchful eye of a human teacher.

And then there are MOOCs -- Massively Open Online Courses.  Here, a major university will present a recorded series of lectures on a specific subject, with homework and tests graded by humans. Each one-hour lecture can reach thousands of students over many semesters.

My contention is that this future vision of education leads to one inevitable conclusion… the future of teaching lies with tutors.  A computerized course, or a records lecture, or a MOOC means that the “teacher” or professor may not be available to the student for extra help or clarification.  But the tutors are always there.  They’ve been there throughout history, and they will become ever more important as our “computer overlords” take over the repetitive grunt work currently performed by the high-priced PhDs on the university payroll.


Link to original photo: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2536578/Supercomputer-beat-Jeopardy-champ-Ken-Jennings-gets-1B-investment-cloud-service-help-ANYTHING.html

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