Robot teachers began to appear in Russian schools, which can already give lectures, answer students’ questions and interact with them using logic tasks and riddles. Delegating some tasks to machines rightly raises questions about whether androids will supplant real teachers in the future.
Today, schools, universities, and centers for continuing education are actively using robots to communicate and conduct interactive lessons. In total, about 4,900 robots perform teacher duties in the world, 326 of them in Russia.
According to forecasts, the growth rate of the market for such robot teachers could be 25% per year.
For example, the Promobot robot will start teaching at the Technopolis continuing education center in Surgut on September 1. The device will lecture students, take exams, and also act as a laboratory bench. With the help of the robot, the students of the center will learn robotics, including programming, electronics, and mechatronics.
According to Oleg Kivokurtsev, Development Director of Promobot, at the moment, technology can only partially replace a teacher, for example, to give lectures, demonstrate content, answer questions, give logic tasks, and riddles.
“But an educator is not only about content. It is also administrative work, and educational work, and creative work on the approach to students. Moreover, a teacher is a mentor. To complete all these tasks, you need to be able to think outside the box, creatively, creatively. Robots are not capable of that yet, ”notes Kivokurtsev.
“The same type of information that the teacher is forced to convey every day does not require human participation. This process can be easily automated, ”said the expert.
Indeed, many countries are already beginning to use robots and artificial intelligence as auxiliary tools in the educational process, notes Tatyana Danielyan, Deputy Director for Research and Development at ABBYY. However, so far we are talking only about simple tasks and about helping teachers and students. For example, a robot can read the text of a textbook in basic mathematics, give an assignment and conduct an automated test with answer options using optical character recognition technologies.
“But in complex disciplines and tasks – for example, algebra, chemistry or the humanities, one cannot do without a person, since robots cannot teach schoolchildren to independently search, analyze information and draw conclusions based on it. We believe it is right that children will do more computer science, learn to create software systems, understand how they work and what benefits they can bring. There are many fears in society in relation to artificial intelligence and machines, and such initiatives will help future specialists not be afraid of technology, but learn to work together with robots – faster and more efficiently, ”the expert explained.
For example, Yulia Knyazhanskaya, the head of the MBA “Netology” direction, believes that the introduction of robotic teachers will be able to improve, or rather, speed up the processes associated with the mechanical checking of homework or with the repetition of the passed information.
“That is, the introduction of robots will help relieve teachers of the burden associated with mechanical work –– and they will be able to devote more attention to strengthening their competencies and improving the lesson methodology. At the same time, robots at the current level of development will not be able to conduct either theoretical or practical classes, ”Knyazhanskaya emphasizes.
According to her, in the learning process, students often have logical questions. In these cases, the understanding of certain concepts is based not on dry definitions, but on vivid examples that only people can give.
“For robotic teachers, such learning approaches so far seem too complicated: they lack empathy and emotional intelligence, they cannot act as consultants and guides for their charges, and, most importantly, they have not developed a culture of mistakes,” the expert explained.
“This entails mistrust and resistance to change. Successful adaptation of parents, students, and teachers to the changing reality requires a competent, gradual, and step-by-step implementation process. The obligatory steps should be informing, explaining, familiarizing all participants with this innovative technology. When something becomes more familiar and understandable for us, resistance and anxiety subside, ”shared Alena Alekseeva, psychotherapist of the Zigmund. Online psychotherapy service.
At the same time, the State Duma is confident that a robot cannot be a teacher.
“A teacher is a specific professional status, confirmed by an appropriate diploma.
Therefore, statements like “a robot teacher will appear in the school” I would leave on the conscience of the media and press services, ”said Anton Gorelkin, a member of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology, and Communications.
In his opinion, no machine or program can ever replace the human teacher in school education. The study is, first of all, communication, exchange of experience, views, ideas, joint creativity of an adult and a child, the deputy believes.
Ekaterina Mizulina, director of the Safe Internet League organization and member of the Public Chamber, noted that such innovations cause very great concern among parents and experts.
“We see not only the replacement of teachers with robots but also the introduction of various virtual helmets into education. This raises a number of questions, for example, about the accreditation of such products. Any product that is used in the course of education undergoes a certification procedure. Why this does not happen with robots and helmets is not clear. The next question is about the sanpins. Has anyone found out whether such products comply with sanitary regulations? Another issue of concern is the issue of imperfect AI systems. It is completely incomprehensible what the robot can show or tell the child. It is impossible to guarantee mental or physical safety, ”says Mizulina.
According to her, in a global sense, the introduction of robotic technology and AI into education has not been studied by anyone, and how much this affects the child is unknown.
“Besides, it is not clear why the teacher should be replaced with a robot at all.
Such an initiative will cause concern among parents, and all of the above questions will begin to arise in them, ”Mizulina said.
“No one will ever replace the live contact between a student and a teacher. If robotization concerns not only checking homework, but also learning, then the education system will simply come to an end, and this is very sad, ”concluded Volynets.
According to her, the introduction of robots into education can be explained by a significant reduction in the cost of the process.