My love affair with TED continues… Â I have written many blog posts here and on my personal blog about amazing and inspiring TED presentations. Â It is a wonderful way to expose yourself to people and concepts you might otherwise never encounter, as well as see really smart and passionate people share vision and views on things that are already on your mind. Â One thing that is almost always on the mind of parents is education, and I recently discovered this awesome and awe inspiring presentation by “Education Scientist” Dr. Sugata Mitra. Â According to his bio:
In 1999, Sugata Mitra and his colleagues dugÂ a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slumÂ playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.
In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. TheÂ “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher,an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”
If nothing else, this charming and enlightening video will open your eyes to the fact that kids are kids, no matter where and under what circumstances they live… and it may change the way you think about learning and appreciate even more the power of the Internet and the vast information accessible to us thanks to technology and our truly connected world. Â As an added bonus there is a brief appearance by the late, great author Arthur C. Clarke, who eloquently says, “A Teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be…” and “… when you have interest, you will have education.” Â Please take a few minutes to watch. Â You won’t be disappointed. Â Oh, and I found an interesting tidbit on Wikipedia: “The Hole in the Wall experiment has left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra’s experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel Q & A – this subsequently went on to become the movie Slumdog Millionaire.”
What do you think? Can children with a computer and the Internet really teach themselves? Â Do your kids learn on their own from the Internet?
Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes! andÂ Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of Dads podcast.?