Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Kids Teach Themselves

21st Century Learning...these buzz words can cause excitement for some educators, while others cringe at the words and run the other direction. Well, this post is geared towards the latter as a way to bring hope and encouragement.  It is possible to abandon the anxiety that some educators feel.    Thoughts of "I don't understand technology" or "what if the students know more than me?" can keep us from experimenting with tech tools in our classrooms.

Sugata Mitra, a Professor of Educational Technology in the UK, speaks in this Ted Talks video about his experiments in the slums and rural villages of India to discover how kids teach technology to themselves and others, even the non-digital natives.  I think that this can be said about many things, because children do not face the same type of fear that we do as adults and educators: the fear of failure.

So, how does this bring hope and encouragement to educators?  I think Mitra's studies remind us all that we should embrace childrens' freedom to try new things, whether we fail or not, because you never know what good can come out of it.  Don't be afraid of your students who know more than you do...but rather ask them to teach others (and yourself).  You can integrate it into a lesson and have them write about their experience teaching others.  There are endless possibilities...and remember, your fear of blowing something up by playing with an ipad or computer is highly unlikely, so go play and discover with your students the amazing capabilities of technology tools.




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