The Future of Learning

img_1014Session Description: In this talk, Sugata Mitra will take us through the origins of schooling as we know it, to the dematerialization of institutions as we know them. Thirteen years of experiments in children’s education provide a series of startling results—children can self-organize their own learning, they can achieve educational objectives on their own, and they can read by themselves. Finally, the most startling result: groups of children with access to the Internet can learn anything by themselves. Studies in the slums of India; the villages of India and Cambodia; poor schools in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the United States, and Italy; the schools of Gateshead; and the rich international schools of Washington and Hong Kong produced experimental results that show a strange new future for learning. Using the TED Prize, Mitra has now built seven “Schools in the Cloud,” glimpses of which he will provide.


  • Sugata Mitra | @sugatam

    Professor, Educational Technology, School of Education, Communication & Language, Newcastle University


  • The Hole in the Wall Experiment 1999-2005
    • How many engineers and programmers are we missing by the lack of opportunities in our slums?
    • The first lesson in education, allow students to discover the answer without telling them…
    • The second lesson in education, the teacher can empower kids by letting them teach each other… Learning can happen without a teacher, students can explore and help each other.
    • Given 9 months, students left by themselves will increase their own computer literacy to the level of a secretary in the West.
    • Who was teaching them? Instead ask: What was teaching them?

Children, given access to the Internet in groups, can learn anything by themselves.

  • SOLE – Self organized learning environments.
  • It became clear that children in groups have an understanding that is greater than that of each individual. It was this collective ‘hive’ mind that was working like an efficient teacher.
  • Can an objective be achieved without a manager – they are achieve with a collective desire.
  • Children begin to answer questions far ahead of their time… It helps if you admire them!

Do not teach, have a conversation.

  • Enter the School in the Cloud – It’s a SOLE and Granny Cloud combined. And ask what would happen then in a school or in a community.
  • We think that we can tell the student what to do.
  • Schools in the Cloud improve:
    • Reading comprehension
    • Communication skills
    • Internet Searching Skills
    • Self Confidence
  • The challenge of assessment… paper pencil tests and the measurement of learning.
  • In order to cater to the needs of an obsolete examination system, teachers, good or bad, need to use teaching methods from the 19th century, consisting of rote learning, drill and practice, and negative reinforcement.
  • We need to prepare our students to work in our current environments. Allow the use of the Internet during a test and the student’s phone.  We have to factor in the complimented self – the student and technology.
  • We need: Comprehension, communication, and computation to be the key concepts  vs reading, writing, and arithmetic. But to include the later in the former.
  • Schools should produce happy, healthy, and productive people.

We need a curriculum of questions, not facts. A pedagogy that encourages collaboration and use of the Internet. An assessment system that looks for productivity over process and method.


EDUCAUSE Conference Notes on!

Anaheim Convention Center

Anaheim Convention Center

To make use of Evernote on my iPad, rather than carrying around my MacBook at the conference, I’m going to try to use!

If wifi holds up at the Anaheim Convention Center, please go to:

EDUCAUSE 2013 – It begins…

Grand Rapids, MI - Sunrise

A sunrise snapshot over Grand Rapids, Michigan

So it’s a great time of the year for educational technologists… the Fall semester is in full swing with excitement on campus as students and faculty are  jumping in and using a wide array of technologies across the university.  It’s also conference season with so many great events to learn, connect, share, and discover how technology is transforming and shaping the next generation of education.  One of the premier conferences is the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference and it’s always an awesome event that brings together thought leaders, peers, colleagues, and vendors (and many friends and contacts) into one place to focus on enhancing teaching and learning through the application of technology.

It’s a great honor and privilege to attend this year as a member of the awesome Grand Valley State University IT Team.  I plan to capture as many notes as I can and share them here on this blog.

Here is to a great event!