Sugata Mitra -Wins the Million Dollar Ted Prize to Create the School of the Future! Although you may have never heard his name, his research is world renowned. If you don't know who Sir Ken Robinson is by now, it is time you did. He states, “So many kids are disengaged from education and there’s a tendency to confuse testing with learning. What drives learning is curiosity, questioning … what fires people up to learn is having their mind opened up to possibilities.” After saying that, he announced the winner of the $1 million TED Prize: education innovator Sugata Mitra. Sugata Mitra has given two TED Talks over the years and released a TED ebook called Beyond The Hole in The Wall. His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another. Full bio »
I've read about Sugata's research and his experiments, they randomly pop up in conversations. He has made amazing discoveries and his work was all caught on video. He first started by leaving an unsupervised computer literally embedded in a wall, he calls this self-supervised access. His first attempt with this concept was called his “hole in the wall” experiment. That was in 1999. What he did was carve a hole in a wall of an old building near his office and embedded a high-powered computer to see what the Delhi slum kids would do with it. Hours later, he found two kids, one was teaching the other how to browse. Sugata replicated similar experiments in different parts of the world, his results have always been the same, incredible! The kids figured out how to use the computer without any instructions. His work has led him to believe that the teacher needs to stand back in order to let the learning happen.
If you haven't watched his two TED Talk Videos, make a point to plan on doing it soon. Once, after returning to the site months later, the kids said, ‘We want a faster processor and a better mouse." Another time, “You’ve given us a machine that works only in English, so we had to teach ourselves English.” Sugatra considered this comment music to his ears, “It was the first time I heard the words ‘teach ourselves’ said so casually.”
It appears that his wish to design the of future of learning has come true. He plans to support children all over the world and to build and launch the School in the Cloud. He has developed a plan of action, “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together." He wants to tap into their wonder and ability to work together and help make a school in the cloud where kids can go on intellectual adventures. He hopes this learning is driven by big questions that children ask when they experience self-organized learning.
Read an abstract here: Children and the Internet: New Paradigms for Development in the 21st Century