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How soon could we see robot teachers in our classrooms?

A world-leading academic and professor at the University of Oxford has suggested that robot teachers could soon be a common sight in UK classrooms. Michael Osbourne, associate professor of machine learning at the University of Oxford, suggests that the current trend of implementing technology in the classroom could continue to evolve until robot teachers are in charge of our children in schools across the country.

bb865bee-60f8-4a5f-9190-340e964efb9bTechnological advances and intelligent classrooms have allowed teachers to increase their reliability on computers and automated information.

Osbourne explained: “Technology allows superior delivery of information. It seems pointless to have a teacher or lecturer standing in front of a classroom statically delivering content that might be better absorbed through online videos, thereby leaving the teacher time to engage with students in a more interactive fashion.”

However, the professor believes that human teachers will retain an important role in the classroom – offering students emotional support and psychological guidance. These functions are outside of any widely-available machine’s skillset – necessitation human guidance to nurture emotional growth and development of important inter-personal skills.

The professor continued: “Simply put, teachers render themselves safe from automation in engaging deeply with students, rather than teaching like a machine. Machines still don’t have the same deep understanding of human society that teachers must rely on.

“In particular, the social intelligence required to monitor a classroom, or to inspire students struggling with a concept, is likely [to remain] beyond the scope of algorithms for at least 20 years.”


Professor Osbourne’s prediction about how automated learning will be implemented into the classroom is incredibly similar to the prototype classroom developed by Durham University (featured in our Five Examples of Amazing Classroom Design post).

“Each student will have a device at their desk which will be delivering their content tailored to their interest and expertise, rather than everyone receiving the same material from the teacher in front of the class.”

Implementing personal computer devices, similar to iPads, can help students receive a more personalised education. Even if this technology is widely implemented in schools throughout the country, human teachers will still have a hugely important role to play – helping to organise the workload for the students.

However, robot teachers (or robot teachers’ assistants) could help simplify the teaching job as well as improving the education of the students. The automated devices could instantly produce results and marks for the students – significantly reducing the amount of out-of-school work and marking teachers are expected to complete in their own time.


If you’re looking to modernise your school classrooms and want help understanding the huge range of possibilities available, visit the Innova Design Group homepage or call our dedicated team on 0161 477 5300.