How Much Can Children Teach Themselves?

I was blown away by Sugata Mitra’s 2013 TED Talk about his research in 1999 about how fast children can learn, even without any supervision or teaching.

In brief: Mitra’s team installed an Internet-connected PC in a wall in a slum area of India, and left it there to see what the local children would do with it. The children had very little education, barely spoke English, and lived in poverty. And yet, to the researchers’ amazement, they figured out how to use the PC, go online, and become competent computer users – with no instruction at all.

You can watch the entire TED Talk here:

This has far wider implications for education – both for children and adults. If your professional life is defined by the “traditional” kinds of teaching – whether it’s in a classroom or corporate training room – this should serve as a warning shot across your bows. Now that learners have so many other options – many of them online – they might leave you behind!

What Next?

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