Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Rise of 'Interest-based' Learning

It's been two years since I first wrote about 'Learning Without Teachers', and now Sugata Mitra is sharing compelling stories involving peer instruction, that should lead educators at all levels to re-think what it means to teach.

Mitra's most recent research seems to validate an approach that forgoes 1:1 computing, in favour of a strategy that limits access to learning tools. In a wide range of settings, with diverse populations of learners, Mitra has married the use of communications technology to 'interest-based' learning, and the early results have been stunning, even if counterintuitive.

Do you believe that this 'peer to peer' approach affirms recent developments in professional learning? Does it validate project-based approaches to learning? Might it support equipping a classroom with an On Demand Ecosystem?

Sugata Mitra speculates that "Education is a self organising system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon..." and he is committed to researching this contention. Whether or not we agree, Mitra's work provides an unspoken challenge: How do you assess the effectiveness of the tools and learning strategies that you employ?
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