Preparing Students for the Rise of Robots

If you are an educator you probably spend quite a bit of time thinking about the future. It’s really kind of our job actually. So the question I would like to ask you is how far out in the future to you tend to think? I think for most teachers it is probably way too short. In fact, for many of you, there is probably a very specific date range in the near future (my guess is around May 7–11) that you are spending a great deal of your time thinking about. What I am about to do next may seem a little scary, but I feel this can help bring a valuable perspective to your work. Imagine a future 10–20 years from now. There is little doubt that a great number of tasks currently performed by humans will be replaced by robots. Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. With that in mind, we need to be thinking of how we are going to prepare our children to thrive in a world which may very well be dominated by technology.

Now let’s take a look at the new Texas Teacher Evaluation System, T-TESS, rubric. Technology is supposed to be an essential tool for teachers to use in planning, instruction and, communication. In fact reaching the highest ratings requires teachers to utilize technology. Let’s zoom in on Dimension 1.4 — the teacher plans engaging, flexible lessons that encourage higher-order thinking,

persistence and achievement.

ssIn a. classroom that is Student Centered technology should play a vital and seamless role. Technology can help to actively engage students as well as develop the 21st-century skills (4Cs) of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

During the Industrial Revolution, there was a big investment in education which helped millions learn the cognitive skills needed to be prepared to succeed in the age of factories, production, and distribution. Things have changed with the new wave of technological advances. Smart computers have already long surpassed human ability to perform arithmetic for example. We need to focus on skills that cannot be replaced by technology. Skills such as creativity and social-emotional skills will be of greater importance. We must teach students how to invent their own means of earning a living with their creativity. We also need to teach students how to be nice. If they grow up in a world where millions are out of work and been displaced by automation, people are going to have to take care of each other a lot more. Of course, those traditional basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic will still be necessary, but there needs to be far greater emphasis on the aforementioned skills.

Are you considering the 4C’s in your lessons? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know.

Teach well and be happy!

-Coach Bruce

Follow me on Twitter Bruce Harris