From Slumdog to Physicist via the Internet


Matt Ridley’s WSJ article explains how one educator is using the internet to revolutionize learning.  Highlights:

Everybody knows that the Internet will transform education, but nobody yet knows how…. Now, though, I think I have glimpsed [the right] idea: the self-organized learning environment (SOLE).

The credit for this approach belongs to Sugata Mitra, an Indian physicist who, a decade ago, began to install public “hole in the wall” computers in the streets of Indian slums. He then sat back and watched how quickly the impoverished kids learned to use the technology. 

He [asks a hard question and] gives them no clue where to start, but—crucially—he insists that the school restrict the number of Internet portals in the class to one for every four students. One child in front of a computer learns little; four discussing and debating learn a lot.

To go further, Dr. Mitra supplements SOLE with e-mediators, or the “granny cloud” as he calls it: amateur volunteers who use Skype to help kids learn online.

Is it possible for everybody to be an autodidact [self-taught], now that knowledge is so accessible online?


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