The research is reported here as starting off in a fairly experimental way – with Mitra pushing through a hole in his office wall, which bordered a New Delhi slum; inserting a PC into the hole and observing the remarkable speed at which the children learned how to operate it. The experiment was tested and repeated in different contexts and countries always with the same result – children with access to a computer will always teach themselves how to use it, regardless of intelligence and with no other correlation to any other factor. Little detail of the methods implemented in the research are given.
This is interesting in many respects:
• Self – organised groups demostrate effective mechanisms for learning
• It is supportive of a social – constructivist view of learning
• The role of the teacher needs to change to be more accepting of this more SC approach
• We need to use technology effectively in education to allow more learner autonomy as demonstrated by these children
• The developing world will lead the way in this approach due do teacher scarcity and poverty. The developed world needs to take notice.
• Does this suggest a 21st century approach to learning? If so, more needs to be done to support teachers in adapting to it and moving away from current practice which in general makes a fairly good job of educating children for the last century!