How Much Can Children Teach Themselves?

More From This Episode

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Unstoppable Learning.

About Sugata Mitra's TED Talk

Sugata Mitra talks about tackling a big problem: The best schools don't exist where they're needed most. For years, Mitra has given kids in Indian slums self-supervised access to the Web, and the results have changed how he thinks of teaching. Later in this episode, Mitra talks more about his wish to build a place where children can learn on their own — using resources from the worldwide cloud.

About Sugata Mitra

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other.

In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC and left it there. What they saw was kids playing around with the computer, and in the process learning how to use it, how to go online, and teaching each other. The "Hole in the Wall" project demonstrates that an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who's now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, calls it "minimally invasive education."

At TED2013, Sugata Mitra was awarded the TED Prize, and he made a bold wish: to help build a place where children can explore and learn on their own — and teach one another — using resources from the worldwide cloud.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: