Existing and emerging technologies can help save the teacher’s time, which could then be redirected toward student learning. But in order to capture the potential, stakeholders need to address four imperatives.
Fremont, CA: Working hours for teachers are increasing as student needs become more complex and administrative and paperwork burdens increase. According to a recent survey, it was brought to light that teachers are working an average of 50 hours a week. While most teachers report that they enjoy their work, they do not report experiencing the late nights marking papers, preparing lesson plans, or filling out endless paperwork. Further disheartening news for the teachers is that some education professors have even gone so far as to suggest that teachers can be replaced by robots, computers, and artificial intelligence (AI). Furthermore, the advances in technology could push this number higher and result in changes to classroom structure and learning modalities, but are unlikely to showcase teachers in the foreseeable future. Various attributes that make good teachers great are the very things that AI or other technology fails to emulate such as, inspiring students, building a positive school and class climates, resolving conflicts, creating connection and belonging, and coaching students. These represent the heart of a teacher’s work and cannot and must not be automated.
On understanding how the teachers spend their time, the potential of automation was evaluated across each activity, on the basis of an evaluation of existing technology and expert interviews. It was concluded that the areas with the most significant potential for automation are preparation, administration, evaluation, and feedback.
Where to save time with technology
Preparation is an area with the biggest automation potential, the one that the teachers deal with even before they get to the classroom. A teacher spends an average of 11 hours a week in preparation activities. It is estimated that the effective use of technology could cut the time to just six hours. Even if the teachers spend the same amount of time preparing, technology could make that time more productive, helping them develop even better lesson plans and approaches.
While various controlled pilot studies have brought to light the improvements in student learning from technology-rich, personalized blended learning, these improvements have not been realized yet on a large scale.