TED Talk: Sugata Mitra – The child-driven education

I learned of Sugata Mitra’s TED talk from Scott McLeod’s Dangerously Irrelevant blog.  In the talk, Mitra, Education scientist, shares his findings from real-life experiments across the world.  In his experiments he gave children access to technology (the Internet) without adult supervision.  In some experiments he let them explore freely.  In others, he asked them to unravel specific questions or concepts.  The results are interesting.  Essentially, left with their peers, children demonstrated that they are resourceful and inquisitive, and are natural teachers.  A couple of takeaways (I’m paraphrasing here):

  • If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, he should be.
  • There is education where there is interest.

The talk left me thinking… the students (from all across the world) proved that they can find and access relevant content (via technology), using their problem-solving skills (i.e. translate questions from English to Italian to answer question).  And, that they can retain the information (paper-based test six months later).  I guess the next question is – can they effectively apply/transfer that content to another unpredictable problem/scenario?