teacher trainees
The areas with the biggest potential for automation in teaching are preparation, administration, evaluation and feedback. Source: Shutterstock

Automation is set to drastically alter the workplace, but just how much will technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) affect teachers?

Such information is helpful for those aspiring to enrol in teaching courses at universities – knowing how, when, what, where and who will be impacted by automation’s impact on the profession lets students make the right preparations for their future careers.

According to a study by Silver Swan Recruitment, the teaching profession has “an incredibly low chance of automation” in the future at just one percent, one of the lowest on their list.  

Research by McKinsey Global Institute’s 2018 report on the future of work echoed this. 

They estimate that the number of school teachers will grow by five to 24 percent in the US between 2016 and 2030; for countries such as China and India, the estimated growth will be more than 100 percent. 

While these reports suggest that teachers have some semblance of job security and that they won’t be replaced by robots anytime soon, there are still aspects of their work that will be affected by technology. 

McKinsey’s research also suggests that, rather than replacing teachers, existing and emerging technologies will help them do their jobs better and more efficiently.

Last year, Stephen M Kosslyn, Foundry College president and CEO aptly noted in the Harvard Business Review

“While much has been written about the sorts of jobs that are likely to be eliminated, another perspective that has not been examined in as much detail is to ask not which jobs will be eliminated but rather which aspects of surviving jobs will be replaced by machines.”

Capturing the potential of technology in K12 teaching

K12 teachers

When applied effectively, technology can help K12 teachers better prepare for class. Source: Shutterstock

So, what are the top things teacher trainees know about the impact of technology in future classrooms?

Some of the broader impacts highlighted by McKinsey in How artificial intelligence will impact K-12 teachers include:

Technology can automate administrative tasks

McKinsey concluded that the areas with the biggest potential for automation in teaching are “preparation, administration, evaluation and feedback,” actual instruction, engagement, coaching and advising are more resilient to automation. 

Automation could reduce the amount of time teachers spend on administrative responsibilities, from five to three hours per week. Software can also automatically fill out forms or provide menus of potential responses; maintain inventories of materials, equipment, and products; and even automatically order replacements.

Thus, by automating administrative tasks, technology can help teachers allocate more time towards activities that support student learning.

Save time on class preparation

Across the four countries McKinsey studied, they found that teachers spend an average of 11 hours a week in preparation activities.

They estimate that effective use of technology could cut the time to just six hours. They note that even if teachers spend the same amount of time preparing, technology could make that time more effective, helping them come up with better lesson plans and approaches.

Enhance personalised learning

The effective application of technology can potentially save teachers some 13 hours a week, which could be plowed back to the teachers themselves (ie. for them to spend more time with their families, etc) or into engaging in more personalised learning, direct coaching and mentoring.

“In our survey, about a third of teachers said that they wanted to personalise learning but did not feel that they were doing so effectively at present. Their biggest barriers: time, resources, materials, and technology. Automation can help with all of these,” said the report.

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