Student-to-Student Interaction: Boom! Mind Blown!

Sugata Mitra, Educational Researcher

Educational Researcher, School in the Cloud

I met Sugata Mitra at Blackboard World in Las Vegas in July 2013. I had not heard of him. His closing keynote address was a “BOOM! Mind Blown!” moment.

I am not a natural educator in my own mind. I have difficulty with large groups of young people, so I never wanted to “be a teacher” like many of my high school peers, but I have found a niche that my personality and expertise has been a joy: Teaching ADULTS! Prof. Mitra’s experiments (TED TALK HERE) blew my mind. As a parent, as an educator, as a human in this crazy 21st Century technology world we live in.

His findings don’t surprise me, his ability to show people what works, his humor in turning the mirror on our education systems, his straight forward no holds barred sweet accent, that makes everything he says fun, telling us (the world) to look at this and simplify everything you are doing so our kids can learn! Yes mind blown…

Related to my career: Teaching Adults, easy. We are kids with baggage. We (adults) have learned just enough to be scared and afraid of “reformatting” hard drives, of breaking the computer…which keeps us (adults) from wanting to try to move forward and holds us back making it easy, very easy, to just say “I like doing it this way, it’s what I know, why change?”

Bringing this all the way back around to the question: “Is there value in student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction in all courses regardless of discipline? I holla a resounding YES!

Students always need student-to-instructor interaction, that is instruction and guidance, but student-to-student interaction is vital to learning!

Adult students can ease each others fears, as they have similar fears, they can help each other move past these feelings of inadequacy that 21st Century technology create in them, pairing up adults in group work around the computer is awesome! I like a group better than one on one because the “students” talk to each other, share what they know and stop doing that “What do I do now?” every step thing that happens. Especially teachers, they move to teach mode and teach the parts they get with each other. A much better, deeper, sweeter teaching experience every single time!

Sugata Mitra’s example of Activity Based eLearning can give examples of how to use face-2-face time in a blended course to engage and create student-to-student learning.

Hole in the Wall Website

Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall project has spanned from one computer for children in India, to a global scale.

I feel like saying if you watch this TED Talk and review the Hole in the Wall project and aren’t re-purposed and re-passioned about your teaching, you might want to change professions today…this stuff is THAT good.