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Real teacher better than virtual teacher

Discussion in 'Education news' started by lanokia, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Looks like we might be needed for a while longer...


    You can see why online charter schools in the United States were seen as the next big thing.

    Charter schools - publicly funded independent schools - have continued to expand across the US, with supporters seeing them as a way of re-energising standards in state education.

    And the educational technology sector has been pushing to bring some hi-tech start-up innovation to teaching and learning.

    So it's easy to see how the next step for a 21st Century education seemed to be a virtual classroom, combining the autonomy of charter schools with the flexibility of learning online.

    Except a major report, based on research in 17 US states with online charter schools, has found "significantly weaker academic performance" in maths and reading in these virtual schools compared with the conventional school system.

    The National Study of Online Charter Schools, the first major study of this growing sector, has taken a wrecking ball to the idea that pupils learn as effectively in such an online setting.
  2. Treefayre2

    Treefayre2 Established commenter

    I think there was trial of this sort of thing during the noughties in the Liverpool/Birkenhead area. Hi-tech long distance learning for secondaries. No idea how it all panned out as I left the country during that period.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Thing is it saves money. Once the systems are in place then you employ one teacher and have 1000 pupils. Maybe have the equivalent of a TA in a classroom... i'm surprised no Academy chain has started heading down this route.

    'Why do we need 15 history teachers? Mr X in Academy 2 is the best. Have him deliver it all via skype.'
  4. Treefayre2

    Treefayre2 Established commenter

    That is the idea. It went along with the introduction of cover supervisors. It will happen yet - the covers supervisor roll will merge with teacher to become 'education facilitator' remaining at the CS pay level (third of a teacher). A few teacher roles will remain to oversee the programmes of education - probably on a reduced salary too.
  5. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Of course human input is going to have a major effect on learning.

    But so will IT if done properly.and in the right context.... surely to goodness??!! Otherwse it's like saying that books are not any good for learning.
  6. Treefayre2

    Treefayre2 Established commenter

    Sure it can Eureka, and it does now too:=)

    But is it likely that ANY government is interested in education for the love of learnings' sake?
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    There's a difference between "not any good" and what is most effective. We learn by talking about what we've read not just reading isolation and even active and purposeful online forums are not as effective as face to face discussion.
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Indeed - but no school/classroom has ever worked simply by sticking a book in front of each kid.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    With 1000 pupils and one teacher delivering lessons to all 1000 via online learning, who is going to mark all the work?
    monicabilongame likes this.
  10. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    I think, Fleury, you are merely positioning yourself to say "teachers in a traditional classroom are very important" to the neglect of any other considerations.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You're falling into the trap of imagining anyone's thought it through.
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    90% of the job of a teacher is motivation, by stick or carrot or making the subject fascinating or at least less painful than it could be.

    The problem with the virtual classroom is that it assumes motivation is intrinsic to all pupils in all subjects and they crave the freedom to learn the way they want. That "freedom" more often than not translates as the freedom to avoid learning and do more interesting or entertaining things instead. Even the motivated ones tend to go off on tangents.

    All of which is exactly what all teachers and most parents already know. I suppose the pressure to produce virtual learning will continue though as there's a whole world worth of teacher salaries waiting to be deflected to the companies that can replace them with a tablet and software.

    I can't find any figures for the total of teachers in the world, but being very conservative:

    The USA has about 6 million teachers.
    Lets extrapolate to 30 million world wide.
    Assume a worldwide average of $10,000 a year each.

    That's $300 billion a year of salaries.
    1% of those is $3 billion.

    So replace 1% of the world's teachers with a computer and there's a $3 billion per year pie to stick your fingers in.

    However there's nothing as effective as teaching children than teachers.
    lizziescat likes this.
  13. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Of course it's been thought through.;)

    Marking is the cheap end of education provision - just think how much you earn marking those exams every year.
    • Exams - done on line will be come even more formulaic and computer markable.
    • With all the unemployed teachers, rates can be reduced.
    • University students needing a pitiful sum to supplement their student loan existence (after all if you don't need teacher skills to deliver you certainly don't need any to mark)
    • Outsourcing to developing countries.
    Of course the quality might not be so consistent but when was the last time any exam initiative about education?
  14. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I earn about the same marking exams as I do teaching. If it weren't so I probably wouldn't bother.
  15. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Teachers are important to learning. I would never say other things aren't also important. Teacher, internet access, textbooks, stationery, a safe environment, happy kids - these things all matter.
  16. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    "The online schools relied much more on students driving their own learning and often determining the pace at which they advanced." - Oh really; what could possibly go wrong?

    "And the biggest problem identified by the researchers was the difficulty in keeping online pupils focused on their work." - Well blow me; who'd of thought!

    "Challenges in maintaining student engagement are inherent in online instruction," said report co-author Brian Gill." - DOH!
    lanokia and Mangleworzle like this.
  17. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Since retiring I have made a lot of use of virtual teachers. If you are motivated to learn and find the material then it is highly effective, and for free content (which is what I have used) it becomes very cost effective.
    lanokia and monicabilongame like this.

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