In my last post I rekindled my passion for both Sugata Mitra and Minimally Invasive Education (MIE). I have always appreciated the way he addresses remoteness in educaion.
Remoteness was first addressed by Mitra in a geographical sense. For example (in the context of Delhi) he found that the further schools are from the city, the lower the educational outcomes. He then went on to discover that remoteness was not just a developing nation problem but happening in all countries across the globe. Even in developed nations there continues to be areas where there are clusters of 'under-achievement'. When it comes to access to, and knowledge of, digital resources this is often referred to as The Digital Divide.
Like remoteness, the digital divide can lurk anywhere. It is often assumed that the higher the decile ranking the more access children have to knowledge and digital literacies. However this is an incorrect assumption - there are many cases where children in decile 10 schools can have very limited access to eLearning and, at the same time, many decile 1 schools have exceptional eLearning programmes and opportunities.
It can also be the case that there are digital divides within schools. For example, there are many teachers who bring old devices in from home, encourage students to use their personal eLearning devices (often their smartphones), beg borrow and acquire older computers from wherever they can, and basically do anything they possibly can to increase the computer to student ratio. Yet, in the class next door, there could well be only one classroom computer sitting on the teachers desk while their Tela laptop remains at home and is lucky if it is used once a week for facebook and trademe.
Just as Sugata Mitra has said, the most important factor to increasing learning is very much down to the individual teacher. Too often a student's digital literacy experience is limited by what their teacher can do. How often do we hear "I can't do eLearning unless I get adequate PD first".
Enter Minimally Invasive Education. Today a couple of exceptional junior school teachers and myself pooled all our iMacs together to see if we could encourage our 5 year-olds to gather in SOLES (Self-Organised Learning Environments) and teach themselves how to use iMovie.
Within less than an hour they were creating projects, dragging photos into iMovie, adding sound effects, adding titles, adding transitions, and recording their own voice-overs. They were self-teaching, they were exploring, they were empowered. The topic of their inquiry this term is Beauty and Joy. As an outsider looking in I was overjoyed and it certainly was a beautiful thing!
Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.Think long, think on.