#EduTECH Masterclass with Sugata Mitra
Since Sugata Mitra’s TED talk last year I have become quite interested in Self Organised Learning Environments and School in the Cloud. Last year I emailed Sugata Mitra to determine if he was speaking in the USA while I was there, as to have the opportunity to attend an event he was speaking at would be something I would appreciate, unfortunately there were no dates at that time that seemed to match mine. I then noticed he was on the keynote speaker list for the EduTECH conference in Brisbane, which aligned nicely with when I would be leaving Australia for the USA. I quickly booked the master class and then proceeded to use the dates as the beginning point for my Hardie Fellowship.
Click on the pic to view the Storify from the Master Class:
The Masterclass was wonderful, not only was Sugata Mitra insightful, he intertwined his conversation with humour and thought provoking questions. A key aspect of SOLE is the question given to the students and ensuring that the teacher does not provide the answer, he modelled questioning in a natural and considered way, which made us all feel at ease. I felt engaged for the whole master class which went from 9:00am to 4:00pm and I came away feeling supported and encouraged in what I have been doing over the last couple of years, both with Minecraft and the Think Big class that I co-taught with another colleague.
The discussion, which I felt represented a ‘fire side’ chat, considered the physical space of the learning environment, noting that this is the easiest aspect to change – consider furniture and its placement, look for ways that encourage collaboration. It then moved on to a focus on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Within this discourse it became highly evident that there is a need to support the wider community in understanding education now, bearing in mind that everyone has been to school and everyone has their own perception of what education should be, educating the school community on what education is now is paramount. This then broadened out to acknowledging over time different values, skills and needs take centre stage. Careful consideration needs to be given to “what does a child need to know and learn?” (Mitra, EduTECH, 2014).
Further to this, some takeaways from the session included:
- SOLE is not to be used all the time, it is a pedagogical approach – use it when it will be powerful
- Parents want to know what school should now be
- Leaders allowing innovation to be taken up by their teachers is key
- Who are we engineering the students for?
- The environment we are in can determine the way we interact and think
- SOLEs is low tech – using one computer per group of four students
- Look for the point of engagement
- SOLE needs at least 12 students in 3 groups focussing on the one question to be successful
- Too many students engaging in the approach at one time will not work effectively (no more than a normal class)
- SOLEs groups self organise into the following roles operator (pointer, talker, director), mouse driver, note taker, hoverer (joker, disrupter) – all these roles have a place and students will move in and out of them
- Anecdotal evidence shows students with diagnosed ASD can participate in SOLEs
- Students must be able to read to participate in SOLEs
- The question provided re SOLEs must have significant challenge
- Using SOLEs more than once a week can be disruptive
For information about SOLE visit http://www.ted.com/pages/sole_toolkit
For SOLE stories from a range of schools visit http://tedsole.tumblr.com/