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Teachers no longer required ? Coming soon to a Cloud near you...

Discussion in 'Education news' started by elder_cat, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    ‘Internet should be a formal subject in schools’


    The internet should became a formal subject on the school curriculum - just like physics, chemistry and maths - according to an education academic.

    That’s because we live in an era where schoolchildren have “teachers and libraries in their pockets on their phones” and where the technology exists for them “to learn something in seconds,” says Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University.

    Professor Mitra is famous for his “Hole in the Wall” experiment which found that children were able to teach themselves how to use the internet, without any help, using a computer installed into a wall in a slum in Delhi.

    Said to have inspired the film Slumdog Millionaire, his work also won the $1 million TED Prize with which he set up seven “cloud schools”, in India and England, in which children teach themselves, without teachers, using the internet.

    agathamorse likes this.
  2. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Senior commenter

    This is also supposing said schoolchildren are able to read, can use the Internet efficiently and are motivated to do it. In my state secondary, we have weak Year 7s who struggle just to log on let alone know how to research topics.
  3. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Actually I agree with a lot of what he says. What is the point of forcing kids to memorise loads of facts when it is so easy to look them up on the internet? We need more emphasis on understanding and interpreting the facts. However the Gove reforms have put the emphasis on remembering facts and having to learn lots of formulae which used to be given.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Assuming we believe that the internet will always be available (and affordable) for all and that it will be a source of real information and not propaganda of one form or another.
    agathamorse and blazer like this.
  5. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    Ignoring the suggestion of not having any teacher involvement, I'm not a fully paid up member of the Flat Earth Society, so I can see some positives in the idea, but I would have some concerns on its' implementation.

    It's difficult ensuring they don't end up accessing some tacky site or other, either accidentally or otherwise, even with browser controls in place.

    With no teacher present, some students find it difficult to stay on track for long, and are likely to be distracted from the task at hand, and not make full use of their Internet access as the resource it is intended to be.

    There's also the danger that students think something is true, simply because it's on the Internet, so as you say we do need some form of checks and balances in place to enable them to be more discerning.

    I take it the intention would be to have designated portals the students use, rather than simply allowing them unfettered access to the Internet. Some serious thought would have to be given to the issue of who controls what gets deposited there, along with the format(s) used.

    They would also need to account for different levels of accessibility - schools in the back of beyond are unlikely to have the luxury of fast broadband links, like their counterparts in the Home Counties.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I wasn't thinking so much of the school process, more the skills we give them

    I was thinking of the argument that they don't need to learn facts or learn to use reference books if they are always going to have access to the internet. At the moment most of us do have almost unlimited access to a wide source of informatiion. I have serious doubts as to whether that will still be the case in 5, 10 or 20 years time.
    colpee, elder_cat and agathamorse like this.
  7. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I think that the evidence might be against you, there. Without a good body of knowledge you're not going to understand what you read on the worldwide web. The more you know, the more you understand - even reading itself is about knowledge rather than skill:
    bertiehamster and elder_cat like this.
  8. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I can't see anything in the original article which suggests teachers would be replaced. Rather it seems to be suggesting that children should learn how to use the internet to obtain information, which would presumably include how to distinguish what is true from what is not true (or facts from alternative facts as Trump would put it). Despite my advanced years and general technical incompetence I find I am usually better at finding relevant information on the internet than my students. I certainly agree there would be practical problems in implementing this.

    This is from a few years ago but I found it interesting and the results quite impressive.

  9. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    May just be me, being thick. The TES post says "teach themselves, without teachers, using the internet", and the second reference quoted in the TES post says "What's most unusual about this classroom, however, is that when it's time for learning to begin, the teachers are kicked out."

    There is a reference in Why Sugata Mitra wants pupils with heads in the Cloud https://www.tes.com/news/why-sugata-mitra-wants-pupils-heads-cloud, to using Skype in a 'supervisory role', but doesn't really give any specific detail. If the children are allowed to "teach themselves, without teachers", then I take it the teacher's involvement is restricted to discussing what the students had found and what they made of it, rather than where and how they get the information.
  10. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Indeed, unfettered access to the internet and social media may just be a historical curiosity sooner rathe than later.
  11. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Kids can wipe their own backsides as well, if forced to and unsupervised. It doesn’t mean that they’ll make an effective or clean job of it though. Take it from me; I’ve spent twenty years as a professional toorde-polisher and embellisher!

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