The Future of Education. The “Hole In The Wall” project

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Education is one of the important spheres in any society. There are a lot of problems which are related to accessibility of education. To address this problem, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University Sugatra Mitra developed the provocative education project the “Hole in the Wall” in India. Dr. Mitra discusses that the groups of children with access to the Internet can learn anything by themselves. Personally, I partly agree with Dr. Mitra’s arguments because despite the benefits of technology, teachers will always play the role of knowledge guiders.

Dr. Mitra started the first experiment in 1999 in India. Initially, he embedded computer into the hole with an access to the Internet on the street of slums. These children did not know any English and saw computer for the first time. After four hours, they learnt how to browse and download videos. The results were impressive. Dr. Mitra continued the experiments. For example, during two months children with strong Tamil accent could improve their pronunciation via the speech-to-text synthesizer which was inserted into the computer. Moreover, Tamil children who did not know English could learn the biotechnology material from computer during 2-4 months on the average level. After the myriad of experiments, Dr. Mitra concluded that groups of children can self-organize their education and create the education objectives.

However, I think that children were not completely self-organized. Hence, how can we define the role of Professor Sugatra Mitra? In my view, the technology could be useful in learning process, but teachers should direct children in study process.

To conclude, the “Hole in the Wall” experiment is helpful in order to solve the problem of education accessibility. According to Dr. Mitra, “If children have interest, then education happens”. However, in my view, it is not impossible to create the education system without teachers because education is the collaborative process between children, teachers and technology.

I am interested in your viewpoints. Is it possible to replace a teacher by a machine?

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3 thoughts on “The Future of Education. The “Hole In The Wall” project

  1. Interestingly, but when I first heard about this experiment during the presentation, I didn’t realize its connection to our topic of the Finnish education system. Now I do. Moreover, @lyudwig ‘s post about Met school also have the same meaning. Either I am possessed by the constantly emerging topic of “free education” or it is really a trend that comes up in increasing frequency.

    Of course, teachers will never be replaced by machines, education without teacher cannot happen, but neither it can without interest. Interest of students and teachers. The abilities of students are often underestimated, as they can learn a lot in a short time. Thus, the main role of the teacher is to advise and direct, not be a mentor forcing students to study boring material. I believe, this is the main conclusion from this experiment.

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  2. Dear Sholpan,
    Thank you a lot for sharing the idea of that Indian professor. It was very interesting to read it and as Mika, to compare it with Finnish policy.
    Concerning the idea that teachers could be replaced by computers is possible I think, but in a far future. Because with such fast developments in technology I am afraid that the next generation will use just hi-tech for their study. Even now, parents are partly agree with the notion of the home education. In the future, the things might happen that we can’t even imagine now. Beforehand I thought that computer is just a smart machine, but it can’t tell you the life experience and the feelings. But nowadays, almost each person utilize this tool that we can read life stories and experiences in a computer through such an incredible blogs of people. So then I started thinking that if the situation might happen that teacher will be replaced, a child can read the theory of one subject or the topic in the internet, the decision of one situation, calculate the assignment and even read the comments of the people about this or that situation. So may be in the next century there will be no need in teachers.
    P.S. it is just my personal view.

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