Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lighting the Spark of Learning


"There are places on Earth, in every country where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be built and good teachers cannot or do not want to go. And those places, as it turns out, is often where trouble comes from" – Sugata Mitra.

The title of this posting is taken from the “Hole-in-the-Wall” website. Hole-in-the-Wall is a famous experiment conducted in 1999 by Professor Sugata Mitra and his research in a slum area in New Dehli, India to prove that kids (in this case deprived kids) could teach themselves and learn on their own without any formal training. In this experiment, a computer was embedded in a wall and connected to high speed internet and left it there. True enough, curious children were immediately crowded around the computer and “playing” with it. Within hours and without instruction, children began browsing the Web. "I repeated the experiment across India and noticed that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do", said Mitra. Follow up experiments suggest children around the world can learn complex tasks quickly with little supervision. During his TED talk Prof Mitra quoted Arthur C Clarke, "when learners have interest, learning happens".

"Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another" - Marva Collins.

Watch Professor Mitra's interesting TED Talks on the experiment and the implication of the findings on education.



Here's a few interesting links to learn more about "Hole-in-the-Wall" project:

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