Automating Education and Teaching Machines

Automating Education and Teaching Machines

Audrey Watters, Hack Education 

12 noon - 2pm, Thursday 30 March 2017

Godfrey Thomson Hall, Holyrood campus. 

The talk was livestreamed and is available to watch at

Audrey's transcript of her talk is here:

"Can computers replace teachers?" The Atlantic recently asked. "Can AI replace student testing?" another publication queried. These sorts of headlines are appearing with increasing frequency. But do they reflect technological advances in "artificial intelligence"? Or are they reflections instead of culture and political desires to see education automated?

This talk will explore the history of "teaching machines" -- a history that certainly pre-dates the latest hype about artificial intelligence. It will also examine the ideological (and technical) underpinnings of Silicon Valley's recent push to automate -- or as it calls it, "personalize" -- education. 


Audrey WattersAudrey Watters is "an education writer, an independent scholar, a serial dropout, a rabble-rouser, and ed-tech's Cassandra". She created Hack Education in June 2010 shortly after she became a technology journalist. She was frustrated by the lack of coverage of education technology -- by both technology and education publications. Since then, Hack Education has become a key source of critical insights into the US and global educational technology industry, and we are delighted to welcome Audrey to Edinburgh to share those insights in person.

Date of Event 
30 Mar 2017
Event Leader 
Audrey Watters
Godfrey Thomson Hall, Holyrood campus
Research Area 
Digital Cultures
Event type