Friday, March 1, 2013
Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud
"Schools as we know them are obsolete."
That's the bold assertion of Sugata Mitra, who has been spending many years exploring how young people teach themselves (and each other) without a "teacher" and whose focus is on "What is going to be the future of learning?"
Mitra begins his talk by looking at where the kind of learning we currently do in schools came from. His answer: the British Empire.
He outlines how the Victorians very successfully created a global computer out of people: "It's called the bureaucratic administrative machine. In order to have that machine running, you need to have lots and lots of people. They made another machine to produce those people. It's called 'the school.' The schools would produce the people who would then become parts of bureaucratic administrative machine."
Mitra says that we are "continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists."
His solution is what he calls Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), which are "broadband, collaboration, and encouragement" all put together.
"We need to look at learning as the product of educational self-organization. If you allow the educational program to self-organize, then learning emerges. It's not about making learning happen; it's about letting it happen."
Mitra offers an exciting vision, but his talk also has a few holes and gaps; so his speech serves as both an inspiration, and a tool for thinking critically.
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