Sugata Mitra: Outdoctrination (Hole in the Wall) [en]

As always, these are just my notes and I may have misunderstood stuff. And as always too, check out Bruno’s writeup.

Build an argument for family eduction. 4 ideas.

Sugata Mitra

Remoteness of quality of education

  • as you go further from the centre, you can… ?
  • socially/economically remote from the rest of the society

Guess: schools in remote areas don’t have good enough teachers, and if they do, they can’t retain them.

Test taken by students, plotted against remoteness from Delhi. More remote = worse, but did not correlate with infrastructure (?).

Pilots for educational technology are usually the best schools => usually perceived as over-hyped and under-performant. ET should reach underpriviledged schools first, and not the other way around. Improvements at the bottom of the scale are proportionally higher at the bottom of the scale.

So… alternative primary education where there are no schools, not good enough, no teachers, teachers not good enough (“can be replaced by a machine”!!)

Children and self-organisation

The Hole in the Wall experiment. 1999-2004 (HIWEL project)

The Kalkaji Experiment. Hole in the wall of the office and pretty powerful computer with touchpad and internet connection, altavista etc in it. Within eight hours, one of the kids was teaching a younger one how to browse.

Second: Shivpuri. Children in groups can self-instruct themselves to use a computer and the internet.

Madantusi experiment, 2000-2001 (village near Lucknow). No internet, just CDs. 3 months later: “we need a faster processer and better mouse.” They were using 200 english words they had “learnt” from the computer.

=> language is not a barrier, it could even teach them some of the language.

Many other experiments in other places. steph-note: lots of footage shown

6-13-year-olds can self-instruct, irrespective of background, in groups

300 children become computer literate in 3 months (windows, browsing, chatting, e-mail, painting, games, educational material, music downloads, playing video), with one computer. Usually, one at the computer, 2-3 around advising, often wrongly… but they learn.

Letting it happen. Hole in the Wall site.

Children and Values

Example of confusion: sometimes it is necessary to tell lies: 50% yes, 50% no.

Natural self-organising systems: galaxies, molecules, cells, etc. traffic jams, stock markets, society…

  • remoteness affects the quality of education
  • educational technology should be introduced into remote areas first
  • values are acquired, doctrine and dogma are imposed
  • learning is a self-organising system

A digital, automatic, fault-tolerant, minimally invasive, connected, and self-organised educational technology. To address remoteness, values, and violence.

Travel Plans [en]

[fr] Prochains voyages: Lisbonne puis Vienne à la fin du mois de septembre, et peut-être l'Inde cet hiver si j'ai les sous.

  • (25)26-30th September: Shift in Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1st-3rd October: BlogTalk in Vienna, Austria

I’ve more or less got the trip to Lisbon and the return from Vienna sorted out. I’m in trouble for getting from Lisbon to Vienna during the week-end without emptying my bank account. Anybody else doing this? Got ideas where I should look? (Trains, planes, coaches?)

I’m also tempted to go to India for two months over December-January (get back here in time for Lift early February). The problem there is finances: I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to afford it. One idea would be to try and get some consulting work over there (Delhi, Pune, Bangalore…) — if the rates in the industry are worth it. Anybody know what opportunities a videshi bloggy consultant might find there?

Do speak up if we’re going to be in the same place at the same time!

Preparing for Departure [en]

Leaving in a week to spend a month in India.

In a week from now I’ll be on my plane to India. A bit apprehensive, as I was last time.

As always with unpredictable India, I have no idea how much I’ll be posting from there, and how often I’ll get to check my e-mail. It might be pretty often. It might be every couple of days. It might be once a week.

I’ll be staying over there for four weeks (Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, in particular), and finally meeting Anita, who courageously volunteered to come and pick me up at the airport.