This was probably one of my favorite videos to reflect upon so far. I found myself smiling while watching Sugata Mitra speak about his work in India and his inspiration to make things better for students who don't have the same access to education that wealthier students do, or that kids in America do. Yet, they were able to learn complex concepts IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE when given the opportunity to try. When given access to a computer, kids from a slum in India were able to score 30% on a test on DNA that was given in English, and then 50% when given a little bit of encouragement. This is amazing! There is absolutely something to learn from this. The idea of giving students technology, and then leaving with no instruction given seems a bit ludicrous to most teachers but I think schools in the US don't give students enough credit. We hold our student's hand through every activity and every new concept and don't give them the opportunity to explore it for themselves. We shouldn't be spoon-feeding our students with information, when they are completely capable of acquiring it themselves. Students respond so much better when they are given autonomy in the learning process and given a choice of how to acquire it.
I also really appreciate what Sugata Mitra said about the negative effects of punishment and examinations. Many students see these as threats which causes their brain to shut down. No wonder students aren't doing well on standardized tests. I remember when I was in school, I once got shut down for giving a wrong answer during class. From then on I was afraid to raise my hand in class because I didn't want to be wrong. What kind of message is that sending? I thought we wanted students to learn from their mistakes, not hide from them. This video, not only argues for it, but also proves that encouraging students to do well, and celebrating learning is the key to their success.
The main idea Sugata Mitra argues for in the transformation for learning for the future is SOLE learning. That is Self-organized Learning Environment which is achieved through broadband + collaboration + encouragement and admiration. I love this formula and I think it can, in different ways, be utilized in every classroom. This model encourages intellectual adventures driven by larger overarching questions and allowing the students to find the answers in their own way. With that being said, I don’t think this concept would work in today’s classrooms without teacher monitoring. When kept on task, most students would do brilliant things with this type of environment, but guidance is key for those students who don’t have that drive to guide their own learning.
Mitra, S. (2013, February 27). Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3jYVe1RGaU&list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp&index=12