This post is an assignment for the participants of the “Sociale media voor Leren en Veranderen in Organisaties en Netwerken”-leergang by En Nu Online.
(Click here to get a Google Translated Dutch version of this post).
Last February Sugata Mitra was awarded the TED prize for 2013. The prize money will help him carry out his wish:
My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries.
Watch Mitra describe his plans here:
I can’t link to this video without also linking to some of the criticism of his work. Audrey Watters raises some questions about, among other things, the history of schooling as it is told in the video, about (neo-)colonialism and about the commercial interests. Donald Clark lists 7 reasons for doubting Mitra’s success story.
Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE)
According to Mitra you can organize a Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) for children by putting multiple children in a group, adding some broadband Internet and some encouragement and then drop in what he calls “curiosity catalysts”: large, open, difficult and interesting questions for these groups of children to answer. Self-driven learning is also becoming a current topic in professional development. See this post by Jane Hart as one example. We will explore whether Mitra’s thinking can help us in the workplace.
For this assignment please do the following:
- Please download the Mitra SOLE toolkit from the TED website
- Read the toolkit
- Answer the following three questions by posting a comment at the bottom of this blog post:
- What might be the key differences between child-driven learning (self-organized, curious, engaged, social, collaborative, motivated by peer-interest, fueled by adult encouragement and admiration) and the way adults learn?
- What are the skills of a self-learning professional? How can professionals be supported in their self-directed learning?
- What curiosity catalysts can you think of that you could ask your direct colleagues (or customers)? Think of two good questions.
- Find a new web-resource about self-directed learning (or self-organized learning, do-it-yourself learning, new-fashioned learning etc.) and post it as a comment on this blog post. It is “new” when nobody has posted it here before (so be quick!). It would be interesting to know why you chose this resource in particular.
There is no better way to judge how something works then to try it out. Starting from page 9 of the Mitra SOLE toolkit there is a home assignment: create a SOLE for children in your own home.
It would be wonderful if some of you could try this out with a group of children. Of course you will then send your feedback to Mitra and his team, but a comment here on the blog and/or some thoughts during the seminar are well appreciated too.