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Pop-up teachers may be COOL

By Geoff Vause

[email protected]

The classroom is vanishing into the iPad, and classical education may be vanishing with it.

Technology doesn’t preclude classical education.

The trail of inquiry and research using books and art through an integrated curriculum generating ideas and inspiration-focused teaching isn’t lost because a student is glued to a laptop.

It may be marginalised depending on who is shaping the curriculum. Answers are instantaneous. Google has them all tucked in its binary library.

What can be lost is the classroom interaction, the shaping of personality in the playground, on the stage and on the sports field.

The crucial ability to interact with other people may also suffer.

This could easily be where the jobs are created as more menial, repetitive and manufacturing tasks are owned by robots.

People talking to other people has a creative dynamic that robots may never discover. Hopefully.

Parents and educators are concerned at the move by the Ministry of Education to fund ‘communities of online learning’ or COOLs.

Schools already take advantage of online sources to meet the demand for languages and other subjects for which they would otherwise need teachers.

Wairarapa College went into debt last year providing too many teachers, a sad thing for any school to suffer. The new regime will be making full use of cost-saving created by online resources.

A specialist physics teacher, say, can be linked to classrooms across a region or indeed across the globe and deliver to thousands of students via a large screen and interactive software.

And so communities of online learning emerge. Cool.

But what could be cooler is the teacher as a hologram.

How long before our talented children are doing this for themselves?

They upload their learning style – kinetic, visual, auditory or some clever combination – mix in a teacher preference and out pops a teacher loaded with all the resources they want.

Right there in the homes – they won’t even have to get out of bed.

They could accessorise the teacher. Give the teacher a wardrobe and a personality suited to their current world view.

They could have a hologram school full of hologram teachers, all shaped to suit.

How cool is that?


Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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