He found that all children could teach themselves with the computer, and this is the vital bit – as long as they were in twos or more. Over 300 children would become computer literate in a 6 month time frame with only one computer. And this was because of the group nature of the learning.
There are many more profound instances in this talk, I urge you to watch and be challenged.
Now I am not seeing this talk as saying we don’t need to teach our kids. One of Sugata's premises was that technology is being rolled out for schools with good kids and good teachers and not making too much of a difference, where it should be rolled out in areas where students are not experiencing a good education, have a lack of teachers, lack of quality education and there the technology makes a marked difference.
However there are important elements in this talk for those of us lucky enough to be in well-developed education systems. There were two major things that stood out for me in my thinking from the results of this research project. The first one was that it affirmed my solid belief in the importance of using computers collaboratively. With all the push for 1 to 1 computing I think we are losing the great benefit of students talking to each other and problem solving together.
The second thought was to do with teachers who are afraid to introduce technology unless they are proficient in it themselves. I have always believed that teachers need to be confident with the technology and be able to know the possibilities but do not need to be the expert. This talk highlights that we can’t hold kids back because of our limitations. My favourite way of introducing new technology to my class is to grab a couple of kids, give them time to explore and play, have them report back to me on what the technology can do and then I introduce it to the rest of the class. I then have ready made experts who can support the students. My job as the expert in learning and teaching is to know how this technology can enhance and extend my students’ learning. If we hit a problem with the technology, then fantastic, problem solving time!
The quality of the sound is a bit low but stick it out, it is worth it.
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