As an undergraduate student, the smell of Starbucks Pike Place Roast and frantic 3 AM meetings in the library in the midst of winter, become all too familiar during your run of the mill mid-semester breakdown. All-nighters become your best friend; as they say at my school, sleep is for the weak.
Furthermore, I understand both the need and the frustration of trying to seek homework help on an assignment at 2 AM the night before an assignment is due. It is not that the average college kid is irresponsible, but rather we are faced with atypical schedules that often force us to work into the wee hours of the morning. That’s why when I came across Piazza the other day in an article in the New York Times, I quickly realized the value of such a tool. (more…)
The fear that technology can only be understood and utilized by learned individuals is quickly disproven by the 2007 Hole in the Wall project. Sugata Mitra, an education scientist, shows viewers how children are intuitive and have the capacity to engage themselves. By placing a computer in an isolated slum in India, children under the age of 13 learned how to use the Internet, accessed programs such as Microsoft Paint, searched Hindi web sites, and even removed basic viruses from files.
Although many of these children were completely illiterate and others had low-test scores in schools, the kids were able to “read” the applications and explain their function. We live in a society where we constantly explore alternative methods to teach the youth, but at times, it is important to step back and ask, what can children teach themselves? In another talk, Mitra explores how to combat problems associated with poorly qualified teachers. Take the time to sit and watch the above video, and share with us your thoughts on how we can use this information to bring the latest edtech to the corners of the world.
During a recent lunch with my friend Sid, we started talking about our first encounters with computers. While I never had much exposure to computers in grade school, I remember vividly the day my father proudly unwrapped our first Mac Classic. Many a suburban afternoons after that were spent playing Brickles, the Oregon Trail and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego.
Sid, on the other hand, grew up in a small town in North Africa. While he didn’t have a computer at home, he longed for Thursday afternoons when he could go to the library for three hours of unfettered access to his community computers. “When I was a kid, I loved building things, but I couldn’t afford the bits and parts required to do things like make an engine. What was so great about the computer is that I could create things like games (with code) and didn’t need any extra money or parts… I didn’t have a diskette or memory card. So, each week I had to start from scratch! I memorized lines of code and worked things out on paper in-between sessions”. His eyes lit up with excitement recounting the experience—the look of a true amateur (one that does things for the love of it, rather than for compensation).
His story reminded me of the wonderful research done by Sugata Mitra:
Members of the Bon Education team write this blog. We use this space to explore learning design, education technology, literacy and global awareness.
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