Thursday, April 7, 2011

Experiments in Learning

If you read Tom Friedman's "World is Flat", then you will recall the story about the airline that outsourced some of it's holiday planning and advice to retired people that may just be answering your phone call while they were sitting in their hot tub ... or something like that anyway.

I've just watched Sugata Mitra on a short 7 minute clip about "Gateshead Granny Cloud" - a project where elderly in the UK are donating an hour a week of their time to connect with students in India to help learning. Interesting. The video is below. But what may be more interesting is the bit after the "grannies" have had there turn. The two sections on letting young kids loose on the internet armed with nothing more than what i guess is a pretty damn big question. In the example "Where does language come from?" - 
I've seen enough in this clip to make me go and join the 103,000 others who have watched the TED talk from Mitra of a few years ago - I've known of it since it appeared on the TED site - just not bothered to watch.

And as I watch I have numerous thoughts running through my head ...some of them are

  • how do we capture the enthusiasm of our students in the same way?
  • how do we encourage staff to take the chance and try something like this?
  • why don't we encourage these types of behaviours - especially at year levels where we should be experimenting?
  • what might our students have to contribute to students in other parts of the world in a similar way? [I think I am going to have a shot at something like this with one of my classes this year. In fact - it may just become the target for next term's work for some of my team. 
I've been inspired by Alan November's "meaningful work" and it's time to test what I hear from so many sources - that today's youth want to make a contribution. 

So, I will watch Mitra's TED talk over the next few days. Here it is  - all 17 minutes of it.

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