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?