Robots are coming to the classroom and some predict they could eventually replace teachers.
Hunter Sports High School Japanese teacher Shanelle Ingram hopes teachers remain human, but she does aim to embrace change.
Mrs Ingram has recently been awarded $15,000 under the NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarships program.
She’ll be using the money for a five-week study tour in Japan and South Korea, where she’ll examine robotics, augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D printing.
“Artificial-intelligence robots will be trialled in around 500 Japanese classrooms in English lessons from next year,” she said.
“Robotics has the capability to interact with and engage students and check pronunciation.”
She also plans to delve into virtual reality, saying “I don’t want to be left behind”.
She added that she doesn’t want language to be seen as an old-fashioned subject.
Her school at Gateshead had been redeveloped to incorporate “21st century learning principles”.
“Flexible learning spaces will enable education to adapt to the digital age.
“I’m keen to introduce innovative technologies into language lessons.”
She believes virtual and augmented reality will “increase student engagement” and provide “authentic experiences”.
Students could be transported to different countries for language studies, “without leaving the classroom”.
“It will provide an interactive experience and immersive environment that students cannot get via a textbook.”
Students would be more likely to remember what they learn with such “rich visual stimulus”.
She also thinks students would be “less distracted when wearing virtual-reality headsets”.
Even now, language teachers have options for using technology in lessons.
“For teachers who are inclined to experiment with emerging technologies, it can be challenging to identify which tools may best suit a lesson, activity or goal.”
Her research aims to examine how new technology can best benefit students and teachers.
A recent piece on The Conversation website was titled, “Why R2D2 could be your child’s teacher sooner than you think”.
University of Queensland academics wrote that robotic platforms in the classroom were “still very new”.
However, they said robots were “highly engaging and motivating for students and can have a cascading effect on learning across an entire school”.