Sometimes the most obvious ideas are also the most compelling. We often believe that students must be “taught,” forgetting that children have an intrinsic desire to learn. TED.com recently recognized a researcher who demonstrated that if we merely give kids a stimulating environment and get out of their way, they will teach themselves sophisticated skills.
Educational Researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize for his TED Talk “Build a School in the Cloud,” which draws from his “Hole in the Wall” research.
About 15 years ago Mitra installed an Internet-connected PC and a hidden camera in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi. Mitra and his colleagues observed uneducated children learning to use the computer and browse online. Importantly, they were also teaching each other. Mitra duplicated this experiment in other underserved areas and observed similar outcomes.
These experiments demonstrate that a stimulating environment causes learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge, which Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls “minimally invasive education.”
See Mitra’s award-winning idea here: