Truly Independent Learners?

This TED talk by Professor Sugata Mitra uses anecdotes and video clips to showcase a rather surprising answer to the question: How can we educate children who live in places where good teachers can not or do not want to teach?

What I gleaned from my 17-minutes of exposure to his Hole-in-the-Wall research was that Professor Mitra believes that kids can learn without the guidance of a teacher.  He has found that they do best when: they receive words of encouragement (even from an adult via skype who is thousands of miles away); they have access to a small group of co-learners (other children); and they have cooperative access to a computer with internet (even if they have no prior training on how to use the technology).

In many of the examples, he asked a group of children a question and then left for hours, days, weeks or months.  When he returned, many of the children had “taught themselves” using the computer.  In some cases though it seemed to me that what is was describing was not what not whether or not the children had learned the skills but how good they were at finding the answers on google.

He responds to that criticism when he talks about a post-test he gave  to the participants months after the intervention.  Turns out the students still performed well.  Professor Mitra hypothesized that cooperative learning and self-directed inquiry may have helped to reinforce the learning.  That being said, while I love video clips, I would love to see how they actually measured the efficacy of the model.

If I find more information, I will let you know!  In the meantime, enjoy the video!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s