“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.”
Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. His interests include Children’s Education, Remote Presence, Self-organising systems, Cognitive Systems, Memory, Physics, Consciousness and Computer Networking.
He has a Ph.D in Physics credited with more that 25 inventions in the area of cognitive science and educational technology. After his Ph.D., he went on to research energy storage systems, first at the Centre for Energy Studies in the IIT and then at the Technische Universität, Vienna, Austria.
He is the instigator of the “Hole in the Wall” (HIW) experiment, where in the year 1999 a computer was embedded within a wall in an Indian slum at Kalkaji, Delhi and children were allowed to freely use it. The experiment aimed at proving that kids could be taught computers very easily without any formal training. Sugata termed this as Minimally Invasive Education (MIE). The experiment has since been repeated at many places.
The Hole in the Wall experiment has left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra’s experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel that went on to become the Oscar winning movie of 2009 Slumdog Millionaire.
Sugata is the recipient of many awards from India, the UK, USA and many other countries in the world.
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