Skip to main content

Reverse-Engineering... Education


Education researcher Sugata Mitra has won 2013's million-dollar Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Prize with his 'Hole in the Wall' experiment, showing slum children learning to work a computer and teaching each other minus adult supervision. Speaking with Pratigyan Das, Mitra discussed the dynamics of this venture in India, the radical potential it offers  and how our educational system apparently persists in trying to produce clerks for an empire long gone:

What is the 'Hole in the Wall' experiment about?
Well, i wanted to prove that kids can be taught computers very easily without any formal training. This is about teaching without any kind of supervision — in other words, the acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning, provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal human guidance.
Since 1982, i had been toying with the idea of unsupervised learning through computers. Finally, in 1999, i decided to test my idea. On January 26, 1999, i and my team members carved a hole in the wall that separated the NIIT premises from the adjoining slum in Kalkaji, Delhi. Through this hole, a freely accessible computer was put up for use — this computer proved to be an instant hit among the slum-dwellers, especially the children.
Interestingly, the children learnt to use the computer on their own.

How did you come up with this idea?
By observing children of affluent parents who had computers, teaching themselves to use these.

Would you say we don't need teachers anymore?
No  but teachers need to change their pattern of teaching. They need to frame questions that children can research and learn from by themselves without any help.

What about teachers' role in fostering links between children and ensuring discipline?
Well, these were very useful tasks in Victorian England and India about 200 years ago in a very boring setting  not any more.

Can your project work in India where there's no access to computers  or even electricity  for many?
It was discovered in India! This is not a problem, there`s broadband and mobiles in almost all places in India. I feel like cable TV, this will solve its own problems. Entertainment can be a more powerful driver than poverty.

How does literacy work here do children need to know some English to follow a computer?
They need to know some basic English  but even if they don`t, they pick up a smattering in months if they`re allowed to work in unsupervised groups and we stay out of their way.

How do you view our current educational system?
The Indian education system, like the Indian bureaucratic system, is Victorian and still in the 19 th century. Our schools are still designed to produce clerks for an empire that does not exist anymore.
We don`t need to improve our education system — we need to reinvent it.

And what are the opportunities your study offers India?
This could play an important role towards levelling the playing field between the affluent and the poor, quickly, effectively and cheaply. All continents are paying attention. Everybody is interested in self-organised learning  they can see a generation doing it anyway and all the time with their mobile phones.

Popular posts from this blog

Overview of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions.

Use social media marketing to listen, analyze, publish, and engage across networks. Align your marketing, customer service, and sales efforts on social — strengthening customer relationships.


Listen and analyze. Hear conversations from over 650 million different sources with social listening tools. Discover what consumers are saying about your brand, your products, and your competitors. Discover trending topics and influential conversations — then use that information to inform your marketing decisions.
Plan and publish. Plan, execute, and track social media marketing campaigns. Customize and craft your content from multiple sources, while protecting your brand with configurable approval rules and a full audit trail. Manage social strategy, tailor campaigns, and drive social awareness…

Why Digital Marketing and Web 2.0 Important To Business?

DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing technology helps you understand and reach your audience most effectively so you can generate the most revenue.  For advertising campaigns, ad serving technology makes it possible to serve the right ad at the right time to right person.  That means your advertising is being as productive as possible. When technology is working for you, you’ll understand your audience at a whole new level, and it will show up on your bottom-line.


NEED FOR THE STUDY The pace of change in today’s business environment is faster than ever. New markets, technologies, and opportunities are arising on a daily basis. Current ways of doing business need to be adapted or they will become outdated. Organizations and enterprises have to become agents of evolution to be successful; as victims of evolution they risk failure. With so many dynamics operating in the global economy, Digital Marketing is now more than ever an effective tool to make a company stand out from the pack.

The pe…

Rural and Urban Marketing Linkage

MARKET LINKAGES
Some general principles need to be clarified to provide a basis for understanding food-marketing systems within a development context. In order to make any effective interventions in a marketing system it is necessary to define the types of marketing channels, their linkages and functions.
The term “market linkages” is often referred to in the literature on rural development. what precisely does it mean? The term linkage obviously implies a physical connection between the producer and the ultimate consumer. Linkages also involve financial transactions - the selling and buying of goods - and can be broadly defined in four different ways:
by the form of financial transactions or type of intermediaries who undertake the transactions;by the channels through which transactions occur and the type of facilities used for transactions;by how they are linked together by transport and communications networks;by the spatial distribution of transactions - where they occur and whethe…