|Native name||à¦¸à§à¦—à¦¤ à¦®à¦¿à¦¤à§à§°|
12 February 1952 |
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
|Known for||Hole in the Wall project|
I was inspired by the Hole in the Wall project, where a computer with an internet connection was put in a Delhi slum. When the slum was revisited after a month, the children of that slum had learned how to use the worldwide web.
I'm encouraging kids to use computers at their own pace to build aspirations.
There will always be places in the world where good schools don't exist and good teachers don't want to go, not just in the developing world but in places of socioeconomic hardship.
We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children's innate quest for information and understanding.
You can force students to learn, to a certain extent, but students aren't happy and employers aren't happy.
Schools still operate as if all knowledge is contained in books, and as if the salient points in books must be stored in each human brain – to be used when needed. The political and financial powers controlling schools decide what these salient points are.
The best schools tend to have the best teachers, not to mention parents who supervise homework, so there is less need for self-organised learning. But where a child comes from a less supportive home environment, where there are family tensions perhaps, their schoolwork can suffer. They need to be taught to think and study for themselves.
In most schools, we measure children on what they know. By and large, they have to memorize the content of whatever test is coming up. Because measuring the results of rote learning is easy, rote prevails. What kids know is just not important in comparison with whether they can think.
Students are rewarded for memorization, not imagination or resourcefulness.
Too many pupils at schools in the U.K. want to have careers as footballers or TV hosts, or models, because that's what they're constantly exposed to as the heroes of our time.
I don't mind children cribbing answers off other children. It's one of the ways they can learn. I also don't think there should be too many constraints on what they can look at on the Internet.
Experiments show that children in unsupervised groups are capable of answering questions many years ahead of the material they're learning in school. In fact, they seem to enjoy the absence of adult supervision, and they are very confident of finding the right answer.
I don't even want to guess at what computer literacy might do to children, except to say that if cyberspace is considered a place, then there are people who are already in it and people who are not in it.
In nine months, a group of children left alone with a computer – in any language – would reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West.
Learning is the new skill. Imagination, creation and asking new questions are at its core.
Profound changes to how children access vast information is yielding new forms of peer-to-peer and individual-guided learning.
My wish for humanity is to invent a way to communicate between us and whatever comes next. And in the end that we the creator of the sentient sapient and the created we have a symbiotic relationship.
The Indian education system, like the Indian bureaucratic system, is Victorian and still in the 19th century. Our schools are still designed to produce clerks for an empire that does not exist anymore.
People are adamant learning is not just looking at a Google page. But it is. Learning is looking at Google pages. What is wrong with that?
Go to a job interview and tell and employer that you can recite the 17 times table; they don't care. Why are we still teaching it?
Teachers are not supposed to be repositories of information which they dish out. That is from an age when there were no other repositories of information, other than books or teachers, neither of which were portable. A lot of my big task is retraining these teachers.
If children know there is someone standing over them who knows all the answers, they are less inclined to find the answers for themselves.
Teachers say to me, 'The internet is full of rubbish, wrong answers.' But you would be surprised how just long it takes to find wrong information on Google, and where it's not obvious that it's wrong.
Too often we see that teachers and educational administrators feel threatened by self-organized learning. They, therefore, think it is not learning at all.
It's quite fashionable to say that the educational system is broken. It's not broken. It's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore.
It would be better, in a way, if any adults present were completely uneducated. There is nothing children like more than passing on information they have just discovered to people who may not already have it – an elderly grandmother, for instance.