Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sugata Mitra:The Cloud of Knowing

In January 2002 I was just beginning as a NOF ICT trainer for Anglia Multimedia. During the Christmas holiday part of a programme on BBC Radio 4 was about an Indian technologist called Sugata Mitra who was carrying out a series of social/educational experiments, making PCs accessible to children and studying the way they used them when unsupported. This was the - now celebrated - Hole in the Wall project. As I recall I recorded the broadcast on cassette and played it to my assembled victims clients as part of my first training day with them. I don't recall what they made of it but it was the beginning of my admiration for his remarkable work.

I've posted about him a few times since beginning this blog - often about my efforts to put some of his ideas into practice. To over-simplify, his big idea is that given the right environment and minimal intervention, children have an extraordinary capacity for learning. This chimes loudly with my own observations of children's learning over the last 37 years in education.

So I was delighted when I discovered that he had been awarded the first annual TED prize of $1 millon to invest in "an idea big enough to inspire the world".  One of the main aims is to collect evidence about Self Organised Learning Environments and to this end interested educators can download a resource pack outlining approaches, suggesting topics and possible responses to common issues that arise when using this approach to learning.

If you do nothing else, watch this video. but be warned, you may find yourself drawn in to what may well be one of the most important pieces of educational research this century.