Some educational experiments prove that there must be a change in how we are being educated. In Sugata Mitra´s experiment, for instance, the biggest hit is self-teaching in groups. Another example of teaching adults gathered in groups is the “microlearning”, a cooperative learning technique for the GED test that reduces anxiety among adult going back to school, promotes better learning, improves student motivation, and increases enjoyment of the learning experience thanks to short practice tests and video lessons.
Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology, has made an awesomely interesting experiment in self-teaching. Some computers with internet connection were put in public places at the level of children (embedded to walls in a slum in New Delhi and later on in other parts of the world), for them to use freely.
Children from various ages that didn’t speak any English, had never seen a computer or knew what the internet was, learned to download games, software to record themselves singing and play it back and much more. Much of their accomplishments done in less than four hours using those computers for the first time
The jigsaw route to learning (first used in 1971, so we really have no excuse to be in school stone age, I think) is to require that students work together to master the material scheduled for an upcoming examination.
This is accomplished by forming students into cooperating teams and giving each student only one part of the information necessary to pass the test. Under this system, students must take turns reaching and helping one another. Everyone needs everyone else to do well. Like a society should be based upon.
More was done by Mitra, I suggest you watch his 17-minute TED talk to learn about it. But his conclusion is simple and clear: when children have an interest in learning, they do and they share their knowledge with their peers.
Another conclusion he made is this: teachers that can be substituted by machines, should. And this second conclusion goes along well with The Venus Project ideas, where technology is supposed to be much more integrated into our lives than what we have been using so far.
Mitra has a dream and an actual plan. He wants to teach 1 billion children to change the world´s education in TEN YEARS (this also reminds me of The Venus Project, where the idealizer Jacques Fresco says we could change the surface of the Earth in ten years).
Mitra needs to raise 180 billion dollars. It´s not so much when you think of a global investment in education.
Will we see something happen?
I would say that there is an educational change rising on this planet. Good examples of alternative educational systems have been around for a long time, but with the internet finally, millions of people, parents and the like can have access to the information.
The information being spread exponentially every minute will make things happen. And we can all be part of it.
I want to see my daughter and the children around us out of the traditional classroom and into the self-learning, based on interest and with technological tools at their service to serve their needs.
Where do you stand for when it comes down to your child’s education? How far can you stretch from your comfort zone (meaning sending them to the type of obsolete school you were sent to) so that he or she can have the very best available?
The best education isn’t in the ¨best¨-most-expensive school. This should be clear to everyone by now.
Kids are still put into environments where they are compelled to compete, with the system of rewards and punishments.
When a teacher asks a question in a class, each student with their arms raised is hoping for the previous one to be wrong, they want to get the attention of the teacher. The children that don’t know the answer hope to not be called and might feel less of themselves, they can’t even try to compete. How sick is making children feel this way?
We can make things different fast if we really act on simply what’s already known that works better. How about implementing the best and the most simple techniques of education globally, with volunteers taking action, rejoicing in the dream of change?
How about making it happen in our homes for a start?