twitterbotWe’ve been developing a new application over the last few months, which is intended to ask some interesting new questions about teacher automation, and what kinds of critical interventions we might make into the idea that ‘robot teachers do it better’. Is it really true that ‘any teacher that can be replaced by a computer should be’ (attributed to Arthur C. Clarke)? Or could we work toward a situation where teaching happens via a teacher-machine mash-up which doesn’t try to ‘write out’ teacher agency, but equally doesn’t try to pretend teachers are entirely in control?

Our ‘teacherbot’ has been build by Hadi Mehrpouya in the University’s Design Informatics department, but all the responses she makes have been created by the teaching team here in Education (that’s me, Jen Ross, Hamish Macleod, Jeremy Knox and Christine Sinclair), via a simple web interface. ‘Teacherbot’ is currently working hard in the Twitter feed of our ‘E-learning and digital cultures‘ MOOC, which is running for the third time this semester. If you’d like to see what she’s up to, take a look at the #edcmooc feed, or see some highlights here on Tumblr.

For a one pager on what this project is trying to achieve, and the team behind it, see this brief document (pdf): Coding the online teacher.