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Bright Spot: Sugata Mitra's Self Organized Learning Communities

Page history last edited by Chris Jones 12 years, 10 months ago

Professor Sugata Mitra is currently (2010), Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK.  He is the instigator of the Hole in the Wall (HIW) experiment.


Here is some recent background on Mitra's work, some of his papers and a recent preso at BIG 2010


Conversation Framing


Here are preliminary takeaways from Bright Spot #Ecosys chat 12/15:


  • Q1 Summation of key experiments, and the expansion of self-organized learning communities.
    • 1 SOLE: Self Organized Learning Environment w/ mediators (background)
    • 2 HoleInWall: No mediators
    • 3 Other Experiments: less structure 
    • Collaboration is key, insisted on 4:1 (vs. 1:1) 
    • Concept of teachers "letting go" in the classroom, not controlling everything 
    • Intersection of rigorous instruction and relevant content 
  • Q2 What would the role of the educator be in adaption of Self Organized Learning Communities?
    • Ask great questions. Let the kids come up with the rest.
    • New roles, new skills (requires training) - facilitator, guide, mentor 
  • Q3 Do Self Organized Learning Communities lend themselves to supporting thinking skills such as Bloom's revised theory of learning?
  • Q4 Pros/Cons of Self Organized Learning Communities.
    • PRO Drives/emphasizes student interest, self-organizing leads to higher engagement, ie, "Kids will learn what they want to learn."
    • PRO Accesses primal, intuitive learning sensibilities. 
    • PRO 4:1 lower cost than 1:1, but leverages greater result due to learner collaboration 
    • CON "Freeloader" effect of 4:1. 1-2 learners might carry effort (can combat via team learning techniques, eg., members grade each other on participation).
    • CON Unlikely for teach education colleges/universities to train in this model; needs to be addressed at the district level. 
    • CON Teachers unlikely to relinquish control of the classroom
    • CON General view of Mitra as "celebrity" not "scientist" (not taken seriously) 
  • Q5 Can Self Organized Learning Communities replicate, and can we predict what they would look like?



What is Ecosys?


It's a conversation about change in our social ecosystems, currently focused on K12 Education.  Here's more on our framing and our wiki frontpage brightspots topics



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