Old fashioned classroom

Lessons from education experts

January 28, 2014

As part of the Educade journey, we are continually researching into modern teaching methods and the visions of education providers who are looking for new ways to make high quality learning available to a greater audience.

Below we have summarised some of the best thoughts we have attained from those experts. Our source for these thoughts comes from TED education talks – re-imagining school. See the link below for the full videos:

Source: http://www.ted.com/playlists/24/re_imagining_school.html

The under-privileged enthusiasts

There are thousands of people across the globe that aren’t able to access quality education in the traditional sense. Schools are too far away or too expensive for some people to access, especially in under-developed countries; subsequently those children and adults lose out compared to their richer counterparts.

There are numerous forward-thinking modern companies who are developing large programs of education with some of the world leading colleges and universities. Together they are creating online content in the form of video lessons whereby teachers and lecturers output their expertise on a certain subject. As each lesson is created, the library of subject areas increases, forming a vast collection of invaluable teaching resources, available anywhere with the click of a button.

Suddenly those under-privileged people have the chance to take lessons only traditionally available to those in the western world.

According to the companies involved, the uptake has been tremendous. The enthusiasm for video lessons from students in one country far away to attain knowledge from the experts in another has been overwhelming.

Patterns in data

Continuing on from the idea of quality education available to everyone for free is the possibility of having a large numbers of users, worldwide. If the users actions and behaviours are recorded in an organised fashion, the amount of data collected could amount to something very useful.

Such data is already being collected by these global education providers and upon analysis, many patterns are being found. The patterns can be used to improve future lessons and courses and tailor them to specific geographical regions or types of personality.

Furthermore, some unique data has been observed whereby small pockets of students are answering questions or accessing lessons in unusual ways. Whereas in smaller environments, unusual behaviour might just be by one individual, which would lead to no action taken. However, with large numbers of users, the small pockets can actually be acted upon, with really specific tailoring of lessons, just for these students. Almost a personalised service.

Can children teach themselves?

It has been shown that children, just like adults, will teach themselves in order to progress faster. For example, there was an experiment in India where a computer was built into an outside public wall, complete with mouse pad and keyboard. The screen had a standard internet browser in English and was placed in an area where computers were very rare.

After a short while, an inquisitive child started experimenting with the computer and seeing what happened when they used the mouse pad and pressed on the keyboard. Before long, a group of other children had gathered to see what the fuss was all about. Between them, it wasn’t long before they had navigated to a web page and were able to see text and images, with the first few children showing the newcomers how to use the various elements of the machine.

Unfortunately for the children, the text on the screen was in English and they couldn’t understand it. They had come across a problem which they wanted to solve in order to progress.

Many more experiments and months later, the group had managed to learn enough English to work their way around websites and start enjoying the joys of the internet.

The lesson here is that lots of children can and will teach themselves, especially when they are in groups.

Observers can learn too

The people who originally installed the computer in the wall had been monitoring and videoing the whole thing over a long period of time.

Surprised by the success of the experiment, they decided to take it a step further and test the children who had been using the computer to see what they had learnt.

What they found was interesting. Results showed that the children that had merely been observers and not taken part in physically using the computer had gained equally good results as those who had actively got involved and used the hardware.

There was no difference between the two types of children, contrary to what you or I would expect. They had taught each other and taken in the same information. It seems that in some circumstances, observing can be as good as doing.

Source: http://www.ted.com/playlists/24/re_imagining_school.html