Last weekend, I had the pleasure of hearing “I think Sugata Mitra is on the path to win a Nobel Prize in education.” And like many educators, his stumbling into education happened almost by accident.
About a decade ago, he installed a computer with Internet access in a wall 3 feet off the ground. You install anything 3 feet off the ground and children are going to mess with it.
Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the wall” experiments from 1999 have since grown into numerous School in the Cloud labs around the world. What began as an experiment to see how students could learn on their own using the internet, has developed into a global community of educators and knowledge. The goal of the labs is to provide an environment where students can participate in self-organized learning, a collaborative way of learning that is possible from anywhere there is an internet connection.
The brilliant aspect of what Mitra did lies in his follow-through of the question “What would happen if?” Not only did he ask himself the question, he took action to find out the answer. Mitra’s openness and motivation to strive to find the answer to “What if..?” guided him in his efforts. He took an idea, and he ran with it.
What started as a simple experiment has now won him a million dollar TED Prize and a 4 year project of setting up about a half dozen learning centers based on the concept of open access to computers.
What’s your “What if I…?”