Into The Future: Flying Cars and Robot Teachers?

Playing on the computer
“Playing on the computer” by fd is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

I believe that it is hard to hypothesize what is in store for the future of education; especially given our current situation of covid-19. At this point, teachers, students, and parents are all working hard just to get through their day-to-day lives and re-establish routines. However, I believe that technology is playing a huge and important role during this difficult and strange time. All over social media and the news, individuals and groups of people are seen communicating digitally. In addition, schools have been doing the same thing. Students from kindergarten to the university level are resorting to learning online. However, something I learned from Dr. Alec Couros’ lecture tonight is that there is a difference between online teaching and learning and remote teaching and learning, as well as how the differences affect the engagement of students. Alec stated that just because the teacher covers something does not mean that the students have learned it – I find that this is the case in most remote learning environments happening today. Remote learning is simply supplemental learning as its intention is to provide continuity of teaching and learning to supplement the loss of class time – for example, what the education systems have resorted to during this pandemic. However, because this form of teaching and learning is simply supplemental, it means that it is not mandatory. One of the issues that my group discussed during the breakout session is the fact that because it is not mandatory, students are becoming more disengaged in their learning and that their attendance and work ethic are becoming inconsistent. Although this is the case, I believe it is important to understand that other factors can come into play – Students may be stressed out or anxious due to the uncertainty of this pandemic or maybe they lack the resources or support required to continue learning remotely. On the other hand, online teaching and learning is a teaching strategy that is designed to be facilitated online. With that, I believe that online courses are more successful that remote learning environments because  they are intended to be web delivered and are carefully designed to encourage interaction and engagement. An example that helped me better understand the difference between online teaching and learning and remote teaching and learning is by comparing this course (EDTC 300) and other university courses that are typically offered in person. This course was designed to be taught online, whereas the majority of the other courses are only being conducted online due to the pandemic. Therefore, those classes would be considered remote teaching and learning as they were not originally intended to be delivered in that manner.

With all that being said, I believe that school boards and ministries are working hard to find ways to accommodate students and their families during this time. Thus, I believe that teaching and learning for this fall will be conducted online or hybrid (mix of both online and face-to-face). However, I find that it is difficult to be sure of anything at this point. Although the number of cases of covid-19 are lowering, without a vaccination or cure, it is difficult to pinpoint when we will be going back to “normal” or if this will become our new “normal”. As an intern for this fall, this situation is extremely stressful. I know that I will be interning in a kindergarten classroom in Moose Jaw, so I have a few concerns caused by the uncertainty of things at the moment. First, I live in Saskatoon and I do not know if I will be needing to move to Moose Jaw and I do not have a place to stay there yet (this is a whole other issue). Second, how is kindergarten taught online when it typically consists of play and exploration-based and hands-on learning and social interaction? If online teaching is what I will be required to do, I believe that it is an extremely beneficial learning opportunity for myself as a future educator.

As depicted in most films or books, there are some unrealistic expectations of what the future holds – but who really knows? Maybe five years from now we will have flying cars. However, I believe that for teaching and learning, completely replacing teachers with robots (or computers, if you will) will not be the case.  In an article I read for my ECS 410 class called Talk about assessment: Strategies and tools to improve learning, Damian Cooper states, “[…] one of the essential characteristics of the teaching-learning process is the human interaction that occurs between students and a caring, sensitive, skilled teacher.” (Cooper, 2007, p.10). With that, I believe that education is not just about teaching and learning – it is also about building meaningful relationships, trust, and making connections with our students. Although connections can definitely be made virtually, nothing compares to being face-to-face with students and interacting with them in person. Finally, in a TED Talk I watched, 17-year-old Anna Nixon states, “How do we prepare students to enter industries that don’t even exist yet? In order to do that we need to teach kids how to learn and not just what to learn.” This statement is powerful and briefly answers the question of what will teaching and learning look like in 2025. The future is unpredictable and there is no way that we can prepare students for things that don’t exist yet. However, we can teach students how to think critically and how to face challenges with strength and resilience.


Cooper, D. (2007). Talk about assessment: Strategies and tools to improve learning. Toronto, Ontario: Nelson.

2 thoughts on “Into The Future: Flying Cars and Robot Teachers?”

  1. Tracey Beaven says:

    Good afternoon,
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the future of education. I really connected with the statement that your made about the importance of social interactions and play based learning for Kindergarten. I completely agree that social interaction as well as language development may suffer for some young children. I am passionate about early learning and over the last few years many teachers that I have worked with have talked about children coming in with a lack of language and social skills, all they want to do is play games on the iPad. They even described some children going through withdrawal like behaviours when they have to go a whole school day without a device.Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Tracey,
      Thank you for your comment! I’m happy to hear that you agree with my statement about early learning – It’s so true that social interactions and play is crucial in the early years. It’s so upsetting to hear about young children going through experiences like that. Technology has its benefits for sure, but it is just as important to limit screen time and encourage different forms of play and exploration.

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