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Let the Internet into schools: Four ways in which pedagogy needs to change

09 February 2016


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The future of pedagogy needs to change by letting the Internet into classrooms, an educational researcher has declared.

Speaking at the World Government Summit, Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University and winner of the 2013 TED Prize, said children need to be taught how to use the Internet to find answers to problems.

According to Mitra, here are four ways in which teaching needs to change:

1. ‘Spontaneous Order’ as a new method in children’s education, in the presence of the Internet:

Mitra gives an example: “Take a classroom, empty the furniture, and put in five computers with big screens connected to the Internet. Get 25 kids inside and ask a big simple question that’s deep to answer. Then stay back. I did this with a nine-year-old. I said: ‘I have a question: Why are eggs egg-shaped?’ Chaos subsides. Then come statements such as ‘The solid formed by pressure creates a hyperbolic parabola…’ etc.”

 

2. It is irrelevant to provide direct factual information, manually: 

“Kids can teach themselves with the Internet. Absence of a teacher is a pedagogical tool.”

 

3. Reading, writing and arithmetic are of newer and lower priority. Comprehension, communication and computation are the new basics:

“These are clerical skills. If a child can point their phone at Japanese text and have it read back in Arabic, do you want them to spend 20 years learning to read or write Japanese using his head? It’s pointless.”

 

4. As a result, the role of memory in education does not need emphasis:

Because devices are playing that role.