[IAEP] NN, Mitra, and the role of the teacher

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 26 13:12:58 EDT 2010

HI All...

I watched Negroponte on the Colbert show last night.  Nice.  He seems to have toned down his former "we don't need teachers... kids will do it all" line a bit, but it is still implied.  

Sugata Mitra implies the same in his TED talk:


But, I argue that  teachers are still very much needed as orchestrators and conductors of this learning.  In Mitra's project he served as the master orchestrator by providing the content and asking the children questions that will lead to learning by discovery.  The "grannie cloud" in his project was the conductor, encouraging and cheering on the students as they worked their way through the learning experience.

On Saturday I  followed a bit of the irc chat from Room 555 on Saturday which discussed children  being chosen as "experts" to help the others learn. Irc was not being friendly so I had to give up, but again, the teacher was the orchestrator... and conductor. Planning the lesson with the right questions and choosing the players and conducting the learning experience.

Of course, many excellent teachers already know and practice this approach to teaching.  They are most often found in "hands on" type classes like  the arts, lab sciences and production classes. Now we need to ask, how do we (and should we) prepare all teachers to teach in this untraditional manner, which really good teachers have always done?

Should OLPC or Sugar Labs consider developing and disseminating, this teaching style, and a curriculum for training teachers?

How would we disseminate it? Evaluate it? Advertise it? Etc?

Let's have a discussion!

Caryl (aka "GrannieB" and Carolina)

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