Friday, May 16, 2008

Minimally Invasive Education

If we get out of the way, even crows can learn!

It's been over 8 years since Sugata Mitra first made a computer available to the people of the slums of New Delhi, in what has become known as "The Hole in the Wall" project. Did we learn anything? The children did. With no formal training, they learned about computing and taught one another numerous technology skills that are reviewed in this Interview from the year 2000. The catch, the technology was compelling!

And now comes an example from TED, where Joshua Klein has demonstrated that even crows can learn and teach one another... especially when the results of the learning are nourishing!



Far be it for me to suggest that we abandon teaching and leave students to their own devices. Rather, let's be minimally invasive in allowing the learning to happen, but maximally invasive in ensuring that the problems we present to learners are relevant, compelling and appetizing.

3 comments:

Paul Bogush said...

Ahhh...you have to do do some research on unschooling. The "ugly" branch of homeschooling.

Letting them be is so far away from a teacher's belief that we are needed, that it is simply unbelievable to most teachers that we are not needed. We force and train the kids to need us by training them to believe that they can't learn on their own. There are so many subtle subliminal cues that we give to the kids to tell them that they can't learn on their own without even being aware of it. Every teacher's goal should be to make themselves useless.

Rodd Lucier said...

Planned obsolescence of the teacher... that sounds good to me!

Imagine a world where school took it upon itself to teach kids "How to ride a bicycle"! I can see those wobbly teachers peddling away in my mind's eye...

The most important thing we might teach would be "Why you should ride a bicycle", or "Where you can go on two wheels".

For some reason, this reminds me of when I prepared kids for a field trip experience by teaching kids how to deposit bus fare on a 'real bus'!

David Truss said...

Rod,
On the idea of not being evasive, I mentioned in a recent post: "Don’t offer specific tools, offer opportunities for people to Connect & Collaborate & Creatively engage with tools of their choice."

Add to that your idea of presenting problems that are, relevant, compelling and appetizing, and you have a delicious recipe that will bring the crows back again and again.