Will Apps Replace School? Google’s VP of Research Says…

Will children of the future be taught solely by a computer? That could be a possibility, according to Google’s vice-president of research Alfred Spector.
He said he thinks apps and technologies that are widely derided as being distracting could actually improve how we learn.  And he says this may lead to a future where students do not need to go to school in order to get a formal education.  Speaking at the BBC’s World-Changing Ideas Summit in New York earlier this week, he said even simple apps could improve education.  He points to apps already on the market like Duolingo, which teaches languages through games, as beginning the shift to technology-based learning.  And he says that personal artificially intelligent tutors could be the next step to raise education levels for students even more.

“If it were the case that technology could become custom tutors, then it’s possible to imagine enormous improvements in educational attainment,’ he said.

And he continued that video games could be used to take the boredom out of studying, creating environments in which learning can be exciting.

‘We have user interfaces that are so exciting that people play video games for hours and hours a day, and they could be educated by them,’ he said.

Social networks could also be used to increase students’ social skills, helping them communicate with one another more easily.  Ultimately, Mr Spector says that these technologies combined could eradicate the need for schools.

‘In the past it seemed you had to go to a school to get formal education – there was no choice but to go to isolated places to be educated, but now we don’t have to do that,’ he said.

‘We may choose to but we don’t have to.’