Can a computer replace a teacher?

March 23, 2007 at 10:41 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment

I’m having some trouble wrapping my brain around a webinar or an online class as a working educational concept. I don’t know if it’s just my problem or if it is universal; but doesn’t it seem to be important to be able to raise your hand and ask a question?

I did really try to embrace this concept. Back in the days of “CBT”  (computer based training) I used a series of CD-ROMS to study the old Microsoft certification materials. I understood most things they were saying. Then, when I had a question, I would end up clicking away from the CD to the web, looking for answers. Then I’d inevitably become distracted by something else. A human teacher can answer my question and skillfully steer me back on track. I think that is important.

Michigan’s public school students will have an opportunity to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese online soon. Michigan State University’s MLive platform is offering the courses, which will be conducted entirely via the Internet. Students will hear native Mandarin speakers via the web, and naturally soak up the language like so many sponges.

While I am all for using technology to assist in the classroom, and to enhance the learning experience outside the classroom, I really don’t think a human teacher can  be replaced by a computer screen.

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