Ed Tech vs. Human Teaching


A proliferation of online education tools (‘edtech’) to help children, schools and tutors is welcome. It can make the journey you have with the tutor quicker, cheaper and generally more efficient. Planes and other inventions do the same.

But it has absolutely none of artistry and intelligence to be an educator in its own right. It cannot teach study skills; strategic thinking (eg what exam question shall I choose?). It cannot motivate or engage in any of the other goals that even the most mediocre mentor can achieve. Nor can it inspire creative thinking by collaboration, intelligent human feedback. The list goes on.

Digital intelligence will always be separate to biochemical intelligence. AI is a misnomer. It’s not artificial in the way an artificial hip can replace a hip. It is a different kind of intelligence all together that is real not artificial. To repeat: it facilitates education with astonishing efficiency. But it is an education enhancer that remains dependent on an educator.

And educators need to include tutors and mentors who are not part of a pupil’s school experience. Why? Because the important function of schools is to take children from their family environments and make them adapt to being educated within a uniform structure (school uniforms giving away the game) that is institutionalised, possibly corporate, sometimes even collegiate. Meanwhile tutors just focus on the pupil as an individual.

Furthermore, education is all about sharing experiences. A digitally based intelligence interface by definition cannot have any shared experience with a human being or any organism.

Opinion by Charles Bonas

Edtech definition: digital technology devoted to the development and application of tools (including software, hardware, and appropriate technological processes) intended to promote education.