Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Unconventional Education

My mother just sent me an incredible video. I'm not, generally speaking, one of those people who watches a lot of videos online, but this was so stunning that I had to share it. This video is from a TED conference, in which Sugata Mitra discusses the use of computers in child-driven education. The initial premise that he poses is that the places in the world to which good teachers cannot or will not go are not only the places that need them the most, but also the places that become the hotbeds of problems in the world. From there, he started an experiment by placing computers in slums in order to see if children could learn from them without instruction.

Mitra poses this hypothesis at the end of the talk, which he intends upon proving experimentally in the next five years:
"Education is a self-organizing system [1] where learning is an emergent phenomenon [2]."
This video is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

  1. Mitra defines a self-organizing system as "one where the system structure appears without explicit intervention from outside the system."
  2. Mitra defines emergence as "the appearance of a property not previously observed as a functional characteristic of the system."

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