Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hole in the Wall

I spent the morning doing some maintenance on my blog, reading twits and blog posts and moving my RSS feeds from Bloglines to Google Reader.
I really like Google Reader because it has allowed me to put a feed from Reader on my iGoogle page. So when I go to my iGoogle page, I just get the new feeds without having to go through them all and I don't even have to leave iGoogle to read the posts - they pop up when I move my mouse over the feed. I love this! Talk about having information come to you!
In the same vein, I found this from a recent twit from Joyce Valenza. She is using Pageflakes to create resource feeds for Global Studies, Science and Spanish. Students at her school can go to this site set up for current web-based information that is updated regularly - in some cases on a daily basis. You'll also see that she has linked to her school's databases. So add a Pageflakes link to a pathfinder wiki and students have access to vetted resources by the teacher or teacher-librarian.
Another twit from Bud the Teacher, had me checking out this mind-boggling presentation by Indian researcher Sugata Mitra posted on TED. The experiment is known as Hole in the Wall. :

It's only a 20 minute video, but does it pack a punch! Check out the comments to this video. If you don't wish to watch the video, you can check out this summary here by Gary Stager Here's a quote from the summary that really spoke to me:

Mitra describes his learning theory as minimally invasive education--a hypothesis that even in totally unfamiliar situations, children in groups will learn on their own with little or no input from others, provided the learning environment induces an adequate level of curiosity (my emphasis). Like in minimally invasive surgery there should be no more expert intervention than absolutely necessary.

This work proves that when provided with access to a computer in a social context, all children will become computer literate with or without a traditional teacher. Mitra's careful experiments confirm the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. Most of all, "The Hole in the Wall," offers a glimmer of hope for concerned global citizens who do not know where to begin in increasing educational opportunity in the developing world. The "Hole in the Wall" project is a testament to the competency and capacity of children to construct their own knowledge in a community of practice. Internet access can connect children to each other and the 21st century.

So how does this impact on our traditional roles as teachers right from the first day they enter school? What do school do to prevent learning as a self-organizing system? I'm still trying to get my head around this.


shelpike said...

Wow, what interesting results he found. I'm glad I spent the 20 minutes watching this. I wonder if there was any follow-up study to determine the results over a longer period of time? I also wonder what part of the world thought they had perfect schools and perfect teachers!

Sharon Seslija said...

Maybe China?
What intrigued me was how these kids learned some words from the English language - it was need driven. Which again tells me that we have to make connections to what kids need and want to know and learn with the way we design the learning activities to meet our obligations of the the curriculum.

Ms C said...

I just set up my Google reader this past week and I am loving it. I think this is the most time efficient way of keeping up with my blog readings. I love TED and I'm getting the most talks through iTunes so that I can use some videos in the classroom without having to be connected to the Internet. I'm looking forward to watching this clip.

Sharon Seslija said...

Great stuff all around - both Reader and TED!
Let me know what you think of the video clip.