Sunday, June 9, 2013

Automation is the Key to Effective Education

The key to ensuring that the education process is done effectively is automation. Now you may react to this word as in this world automation has become in some ways a dirty word. After all automation is one of the reasons why there are fewer jobs, because it has become more cost effective to simply replace a human with a machine. But there is perhaps a lesson in that. There are some tasks that humans do well, like thinking creatively and solving problems, for example, but then there are other tasks that computers do better. Tasks which require repetitive, consistent input or action are ones at which computers excel. That is because computers follow directions. If you give the computer the right set of directions, it will follow those directions perfectly, or at least to a much higher degree of perfection than the human (of course this is mainly due to the way in which our Natural Learning Ability is formed by our environment, every human being has the potential to operated at a level of excellence, but currently the system is not supporting this outcome.) Thus, when it comes to education of future generations of children, the question is, do we want a high degree of perfection or do we want things to be random and influenced by the whims of the human beings in the child's environment?

Obviously we cannot, as a society, allow for future generations of children to have ineffective educations as is quite clearly happening currently.

So, how does automation play a role in this process and provide something that, as the evidence has shown, human teachers are not able to do?

Firstly, it ensures that each child who is a part of the system receives the same level of attention and the same quality of input. Currently, children are grouped into classes and even within the various classes there are the children that the teacher prefers and those children with whom the teacher has conflicts. See, with an automated system, there is no interpersonal conflict, because a computer does not form judgments and perceive situations based on their own biases and opinions.

Secondly when there are problems where an individual student is not learning a particular point effectively, then the automated system would have a record of the child's progress up to that point and thus proper feedback can be established and the child can be supported more specifically on the point.

Another reaction that may come up for many people around this point of automation is that we already have 'standardized testing' and that approach only seems to be making things worse, but understand in that scenario the only thing that is standardized really seems to be the questions that will be asked of the child at the end of the school year. The approach to actually making sure the children are effective with the information in the first place is still quite problematic and not effectively automated. There are many cases, also, where teachers are 'teaching to the test' meaning that students are only being taught the answers to the questions that will be asked, which obviously is only going to cause problems because the students do not actually develop any real skills, only facts which they are forced to memorize long enough to answer questions on the exam. But here, the teachers are doing what they can because at this stage, the rules are made around what the students are to be tested on, however the teachers and schools are largely left up to their own devices to figure out how to make sure the students will learn the information. And when teacher and administrator salaries are tied to the test outcome then there will of course be a focus on making sure students do well on the test. There has already been quite a few cheating scandals, for example in Atlanta and Washington, DC.

So in terms of the automation point, I don’t mean simply ‘standardized testing’ because obviously what has been shown is that the only point automated there is the testing itself. But there is no automation of ensuring that each child is actually brought to the acceptable standard as is evidenced by perceived need for administrators to cheat the system.
So then the question is “How do we automate this process to ensure each child reaches an acceptable level of skill within their education process?” And the answer lies in the Natural Learning Ability of each child and to automate how that Natural Learning Ability is developed throughout the entire process to ensure that what forms the basic structure of the child’s memory and information processing skills are what is best for the child. How to do this will be explained over time through posts to follow.

tags:  automation, standardized, testing, cheating, scandal, reform, education, natural learning ability, TechnoTutor

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