“Encouragement seems to be the key. If you look at Kallikuppam [India], if you look at all of the experiments that I did, it was simply saying, “Wow,” saluting learning.” ~ Sugata Mitra
No one needs to convince me that children can learn in the virtual environment. Our children have been thriving in it! We are fortunate to be able to provide an education-rich environment for our own children, outside the brick-and-mortar environment but still entrenched in public education. World wide, however, there are millions of children who don’t get that chance due to socioeconomic status.
The Victorian education model — the way of the current public school system in America — has worked for centuries for good reason. As similarly trained ‘widgets’, children with a standard education in ABC’s and 123’s can attend universities and find meaningful work anywhere in the country, in fact, anywhere in the world.
But today is very different than 300 years ago, very different indeed.
‘The Empire’ now gone with a new globally connected, 24/7 computer-driven market in its place, perhaps it’s time to rethink a future for learning that maximizes the potential of our most precious resource — our children.
Self-Organized Learning Environment = SOLE
Sugata Mitra put a computer — built in another country, written in a different language no less — into a wall in an Indian slum and let children figure out on their own how to use it. What resulted is nothing short of amazing. Because of his research, Mitra was the recipient of the 2013 TED Prize for his wish, Building a School in the Cloud.
“The teacher only raises the question and then stands back and admires the answer… Let [the student] alone. He’ll figure it out.” ~ Sugata Mitra
The question is not whether teachers are needed for children to learn, but rather Is knowledge obsolete? Answers to just about everything can now be found instantaneously on the Internet with a simple search. Only the right question need be asked and the children, with their natural curiosity for learning and a wonder for life’s inner workings, are quite able to find the answer.
Every child is intelligent. Every child can learn. All he needs is the opportunity to explore with encouragement to do what he already does best.
The following is a 20-minute TED Talk. I urge you to watch it.
Click here for the interactive transcript.
What do you think is the future of learning?