Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hole in the Wall?

There's this very smart man named Sugata Mitra, who was interesting in complex computer stuff.  Then his interest moved on memory and learning.  He decided to see what would happen when he would put a computer in a "hole in a wall" unattended for children to use freely.  Turns out kids don't need a lot of training to learn something novel.  So awesome of an experiment, he won a TED prize- the first ever TED prize to be exact.  According to the word of Wikipedia, Vikas Swarup read about Mr. Mitra's experiments and influenced him to write Q&A, which became the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

In his latest blog post, he talks about education, physics and chaos theory connecting cells, flowers and learning.  Very academic, yet holds simplicity. Mr. Mitra is a professor of Educational Technology and his profile lists something of interest in his "informal interests": Science Fiction, Astronomy and Astrophysics, bio-informatics and genetics.  Must those who imagine a different future, love science fiction?  I do. This makes me think of Ender's Game (movie coming out later this year) by Orson Scott Card. Learning via playing computer games and situational role plays, a computer that learns from user's activities (see Mitra blog post about "Prime").

It makes me think about my iPod nano, my iPad, my smartphone, and my computer.  I feel like I should always be doing more with them.  Like my brain, I only use a fraction of their potential.  Is it that I don't need the power that the tech provides or is it that I don't know all the value my tech can provide to take advantage of it?

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