The world is increasingly turning toward artificial intelligence and automation. Machines are slowly but increasingly taking over traditional jobs across sectors.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, roughly half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055. Well, this is enough to make us wonder if our jobs will also be taken over by machines anytime soon. But what do you say machines or artificial intelligence will take over the jobs of teachers as well? While we can’t say this for now, there are, in fact, already edtech companies that are working to replace teachers with artificial intelligence. South Korea’s AI startup Riiid and China’s VIPKID are among them. However, despite all this development and effort to transform the education world, even to replace teachers, edtech companies still need teachers. Do you know why?
In this article, we take you through on why edtech startups badly need teachers despite many trying to replace them with machines or artificial intelligence.
Who knows things about education better than teachers/educators?
Edtech is all about addressing the educational needs. So what do you say who knows best when it comes to educational needs and requirements? It is the teachers and educators. Yes, they know best what learners need, how they learn or how they prefer to learn. Teachers also know what works and what doesn’t in the classroom. They also know about themselves what they need in the classroom. So when all edtech startups’ main mission is to address educational problems, not knowing or understanding the needs of the stakeholders in the first place is an illusion. Thus, it is the teachers, who know and understand the problems and needs help drive the edtech startups to create tools and systems to help meet the needs of all education stakeholders – students, teachers, parents, administrators, and institutions.
Offer practical advice on real-world problems
Since they know and experience the problems first hand themselves, teachers offer practical advice on real-world problems students and teachers face and what they need. They can help edupreneurs understand how students and teachers can interact with their product with realistic examples. So it’s very important for edtech firms to listen to experienced teachers to create any product or service, to solve real-world issues and improve classroom integration, and make their product and service beneficial to the end consumer.
Not all edtech entrepreneurs/operators are teachers
Most edtech startups are founded or operated by edupreneurs or technologists who are not necessarily teachers. So, imagine what the edtech founders or operators can do with their technologies, tools or systems without teachers, especially for startups that directly engage with end users – students. Not everybody can teach students even if they have mastered the use of technology. Edtech companies need teachers to deliver their products and services to its target users. It’s like each knows best what they do and where they work.
Help understand local needs
Every edtech firm has their specific target of consumers. Some cater to a particular country, region or specific group of consumers. Needless to mention, almost every country, region, district or locality follows different set of standards and assessments in schools. Hiring local teachers or educators help edtech firms understand local needs and challenges, which is an important thing for any business undertaking. They can provide information about the curriculum, standards, needs and challenges of the concerned region/area for the company to focus on and give value to its users.
Advisor to the company
Educators can act as great advisors or go-to persons for any edtech solution. Their first-hand experiences in the classrooms or in dealing with the students are a great deal for edtech designers, creators, and its end users. They know the problems, challenges and needs of the students and institutions so they can provide real and practical solutions to the company.
Help design or create tools, products and services
Most edtech operators or creators don’t have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the education system and learners’ needs. Unless they are well verse with the needs and requirements of the field they are in, they can’t design or create any product or service to offer its consumers. Having come from a teaching background and know the workings of the system and learners’ needs, teachers can help edtech companies create and design tools, products and services.
Ambassadors of the product/company
It is often said “Teachers trust Teachers”. Edtech companies may have designed an outstanding product or tool but they may find it difficult to market or sell it to an educator without a solid recommendation from a fellow teacher. Teachers can be a great ambassador for the company for its products. They can bring in their own examples of how they use the tool/system and transform their classrooms and institution, and help market the company’s product and service. Needless to mention, like any others, educators look for concrete examples of the products on whether they will really make a difference in the teaching and learning process. Letting a teacher do the marketing can definitely increase its credibility and help sell products easily and massively.
Involvement of teachers in the edtech process is indispensable, as they understand and know things best about education, what challenges learners faced and what they really need. Any edtech company aiming to solve the educational needs can’t ignore the role of teachers in their operation.