A $1,000,000 prize for education research! Back to list

An inspiring TED talk about how children organise their own learning.

Sugata Mitra, a professor of education at Newcastle University UK, has just won $1,000,000 to dedicate to educational research on how children learn. In his hole-in-the-wall experiments, he showed that children were capable of teaching themselves and their peers when their curiosity was sparked, proving that children are not just empty vessels to be ‘filled’ with knowledge by an expert.

In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in the wall just outside one of the large slums of New Delhi.  They installed a PC in the hole and a hidden camera and left them there. Gradually children were drawn to the machine time and time again, teaching themselves and others how to work it. Mitra replicated the experiment in other parts of India and showed that an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge.

At TED 2013, Sugata Mitra invited the TED community to make his dream a reality.  “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries.”

Should we be encouraging our children to use their innate sense of wonder more in the classroom? Do we allow them room to work things out by themselves or is it nearly always teacher-driven?

Enjoy this inspiring video:

Maria Toth