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[ontolog-forum] Building A Better Teacher: Dissecting America's Educatio

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: patrick.w.langley@xxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2014 12:57:37 -0400
Message-id: <54147781.6090905@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I didn't reply to Pat Hayes' comment because I was tied up with some
deadlines.  But I recently heard an interview with Elizabeth Green,
who wrote the book cited in the subject line:    (01)

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/09/338831269/building-a-better-teacher-dissecting-americas-education-culture    (02)

She made the point that the most important contributions by a teacher
are *not* to fill the little pitchers full of facts (as Gradgrind
said in Dickens' _Hard Times_).  Instead, a good teacher needs to
discover how each child views the world and the subject that is
being taught -- and correct misunderstandings.    (03)

>> An AI system with the abilities of HAL could do a respectable job
>> as an entertainer, attorney, politician, or teacher.  But there is
>> no research prototype today that comes remotely close.
>> I'm not sure about the practical value of synthetic politician,
>> but any AI system that could do even a subset of the tasks that
>> Langley lists for the attorney or teacher would be extremely
>> valuable.    (04)

> Valuable for who, exactly? Seems to me all it would do is put human
> attorneys and teachers out of a job.    (05)

It will take a long time to develop AI systems that can perform even
a reasonable subset of the tasks Pat Langley proposed.  And it would be
much, much longer before they could develop the empathy that Elizabeth G
said was critical.  I haven't read her book, but she made a good case
for teaching that skill to the teachers.    (06)

For presenting the facts, computer systems could do a better job than
most teachers in (a) presenting videos of great lectures, (b) answering
factual questions, and (c) interactive exercises.  Most importantly,
they could eliminate the two most hated chores for teachers:  lesson
plans and grading exams.    (07)

> Or, more likely, mean that some  human teachers and attorneys (those
> who have the funds to buy or rent  such a system) have a devastating
> advantage over other human rivals.    (08)

By the time the software is developed, it will run on any phone or TV.
The cost of running it would be trivial compared to the time of the
human teacher or attorney.  But it would enable the humans to devote
their time to the more important and challenging task of developing
empathy with students or people who need a lawyer.  During the 21st c,
I seriously doubt that computers will be able to do that.    (09)

John    (010)

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