I just watched the TED lecture by Sugata Mitra about his studies of how primary children teach themselves - what a wonderful study and what it says about learning. He looked at 6-13 year old kids in remote Indian villages. He set up a single computer and left it with no instructions, no monitoring, no specified outcomes. Within minutes, the kids were teaching themselves and each other english, how to access new information, applying their understanding to look at the world in new ways. His bottom line - primary education can happen in self-forming groups when educational technology is present. It does not have to happen top down.
He broke his findings down to 4 outcomes:
Remoteness affects the quality of education
Educational technology should be introduced into remote areas first, not wealthy areas for greatest impact
Values are acquired. Discipline and Dogma are imposed.
Learning is a self-organizing system.
This in itself is a powerful idea whether you are talking about primary ed, or trying to look at change in systems by using community. My area of interest is educational communities, and how technology can make powerful learning communities shape change. If Sugata is right (and I believe he is), than we need to continually find ways to build stronger educational communities in primary and secondary education. The nature of web 2.0 for most educators is still in its infancy - although our students have found the social nature of learning through the web, we still have not fully seen the same adoption in education. The challenge is how to get there.
How many teachers build and share knowledge about their passion (education) compared to their students?
One other thought - Negroponte’s OLPC program has more merit than ever when you look at what Sugata’s research shows happens when kids are given access to technology. It is a shame that there was so much energy put into why it wouldn’t work when studies like this show how powerful well designed rugged educational technology can be in the hands of any learners.
Grant Possibility - Next Generation Learning Challenge
Here is an interesting grant possibility to design a module for middle school students to improve their ability to successfully learn core content standards. Information about the script is here: http://nextgenlearning.org/
they do give two examples of the kind of projects they are looking for:
A modularized online course of study that may be composed and sequenced with a variety of other materials and deployed in a variety of learning environments. Note: there is not an expectation that an entire year-long course of study be completed.
An online, collaborative environment in which students are asked to practice and show mastery of literacy Common Core Standards within the context of solving biology problems.
Hawaii ISTE Affiliate Forms
There is a Hawaii ISTE affiliate now! Please join, as the more members we have the larger our opportunity for advocacy for Technology In Education. Visit http://www.hste.org for information and registration (free!). There is a membership flyer attached here: