In a really tough December week this two hours shone out as a great teaching and learning experience.
Before going any further, please head over to my previous post to read about the inspiration for this lesson.
In a nutshell, Sugata discovered that children can teach themselves with the aid of the Internet. His hole-in-the-wall experiment inspired the book that inspired the film Slumdog Millionaire. He has since been investigating how to apply these findings in Western school systems.
I followed some basic rules that Sugata has developed. I split the students into groups, each with a computer and then gave them a problem to solve.
The rules are simple:
Students were told to get into groups of their choice of around 4 children.
They had one laptop per group.
They could walk around and cheat, looking at what the other groups were doing.
They could move groups if they wanted to.
No input from me other than some encouragement and praise.
My Year 7 class (11-12 year olds) are an able group who I have done a little group work earlier this year. I gave them a simple question:
Who was Pythagoras?
And with it, the text (but not diagram) of a typical GCSE question:
A ladder is leaning against a wall. It is 5 meters long, the base of the ladder is 3.5 meters away from the wall. How far up the wall does it reach? Continue reading →
Sugata Mitra is currently Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University. He has spent many years in a huge number of research posts. With regards to education he is most famous for his Hole In The Wall Experiment whereby he put an Internet enabled PC in the wall of an Indian slum in 1999 and left it there for anyone to use.
You can see the talk here, or watch his similar TED talk here.
Sugata was charming and engaging. The driving message that he had was that given some time and an Internet connection, children are quite proficient at teaching themselves.
He first discovered this in his now famous Hole In The Wall experiment. I won’t go over the details of that here as you can watch the videos above or read about it in detail on Wikipedia or it’s own dedicated website. Sugata explained that he did not go looking for this effect, however his experiments demonstrated 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. Sugata calls this minimally invasive education. Continue reading →