Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"If Children Have Interest, Education Happens"

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education -- the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

These "Hole in the Wall" experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they're motivated by curiosity.

I’ve watched this TED talk by Sugata Mitra a couple of times now and it makes me think, in a way, of the Suzuki Method, which is the educational philosophy that strives to create "high ability" in its students through a nurturing environment. "The 'nurture' involved in the movement is modeled on a concept of early childhood education that focuses on factors which Shinichi Suzuki observed in native language acquisition, such as immersion, encouragement, small steps, and an unforced timetable for learning material based on each person's developmental readiness to imitate examples, internalize principles, and contribute novel ideas."

Mitra truly drives home the idea that we MUST get technology in the hands of our students. our children, at the earliest age possible.  I like his idea that students should use use technology in small groups in order to reinforce learning. The interaction among students is a terrific way to move knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.

I sincerely HOPE you will take the time to watch this video and give thought to how he used technology to educate children. I think it will change the way you look at technology and possibly the way that you teach.  Mitra has certainly changed my thoughts.

As Mitra stated, "If children have interest, EDUCATION HAPPENS!"

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