When less is more: Theories on Thursday

I had my world rattled and my passion ignited at the AEE international convention this past November 2010.  Dr. Sugata Mitra, an unassuming man from India, rattled it.

He spoke of his "Hole-in-the-wall" research where computer terminals where set-up in the slums of New Delphi, India, given to children who spoke no English, had no computer instruction, barely formal teaching, no rewards, punishments, carrots or sticks and then watched the magic unfold.  What he discovered could be summed up in this quote:

"Where you have interest, you have education." - Sir Arthur C. Clarke

I would never demand you watch a video, but this is a must.  This 17 minute, TED talk by Dr. Sugata Mitra sums up his Hole-in-the-wall Project - a project he replicated, again and again, to prove his assumptions about human learning and demonstrate the willfulness and tenacity of kids, an often times under-valued resource.  He is exceptionally brilliant, completely unassuming and has a tremendous sense of humor.  I believe, every teacher and parent should see this as a testament to the capabilities of our children and students - capabilities that should never be underestimated. 

Without exaggeration, Dr. Mitra's findings brings me to joyful tears.  This TED talk, but the way, is almost an exact replica of the keynote address Dr. Mitra gave at the AEE conference. 

Now, that you have watched the TED talk, what do you think?  Is the quote above correct?  What role does, or should,  a teacher (or parent) play in learning?  Use the comments window below to record your thoughts.  As always, no password or user name required.

If you check back tomorrow, I will summarize some of the keys points of Dr. Mitra's research and we can strategize how to include those in our everyday teaching and learning.  If you want to look for more information before then, check out Dr. M's think tank website.


PS - I know I am not alone in my admiration of Ted talks.  I just watched this one by Jacqueline Novagratz and I am com-plete-ly moved.  She talks of living a life of "immersion."  How's that for some Thursday passion?

PSS - Join Upcycled Education for our first giveaway.....You deserve some love.