Sugata Mitra’s ideas

Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in England, Sugata Mitra won the TED Prize for 2013. He is an extraordinary thinker, a quintessential interdisciplinarian, highly respected scholar, and authority on literacy and education. His most recent ideas about education, however, are not universally embraced and have instigated valuable discussion. For example, Mitra says this:

“Schools today are the product of an expired age; standardized curricula, outdated pedagogy, and cookie cutter assessments are relics of an earlier time. Schools still operate as if all knowledge is contained in books, and as if the salient points in books must be stored in each human brain — to be used when needed. The political and financial powers controlling schools decide what these salient points are. Schools ensure their storage and retrieval. Students are rewarded for memorization, not imagination or resourcefulness.”

Here is one of Mitra’s most important talks. What do you think?



4 thoughts on “Sugata Mitra’s ideas

  1. Mitra brings up some very interesting points. I am studying to receive my Masters in Education, and as such I find this TED Talk very informative. I agree with Mitra’s comment that we must allow learning to take place, not force it, but I do not believe that learning is obsolete. He does bring up an interesting point to say that the vast knowledge of writing, science, and math were necessary for Empire Ages, but this does not eliminate the need for a teacher today. Although it is amazing that children in secluded countries were able to teach themselves DNA replication, there were will holes that could only be filled by a teacher rephrasing and reshaping information to allow it to make sense to all students. Another piece to keep in mind is that it took the students an incredibly long time to learn about DNA, and only a small amount of information. In a classroom atmosphere this could be done in two weeks with more knowledge and application resulting in a higher understanding. This would be done through differentiated instruction, and this does not occur through a single computer program such as the one Mitra implemented.
    There is clear evidence that the school and classroom have evolved just as society has changed over time. Schools are a reflection of the society in which they exist; and as such curriculum and assessment need to change with the society around it. This means changing with technology advances, student needs, and the capability of all students.

  2. I’m so glad you took time to view Mitra’s TED talk and think about his thinking. You are entering your profession at a singular time–just as the entire construct is changing in a fundamental way. We need dedicated, creative, highly skilled teachers now more than ever before in order to establish new models and techniques for the digital age. Thank you for choosing this noble career! The rewards outweigh the pay. 🙂

  3. Lorna Monson would have loved this blog! And I know she loved the blogger!

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