Self-teaching at computer kiosks in India

My daughter was home from school sick for three days this week. I marvelled at how much learning she did on her own, mostly at the computer though she did read a little and do puzzles. I am totally on-board when I read that Sugata Mitra believes “Education improves when there are fewer teachers.” He set up computer kiosks in Madangir, a slum on the edge of New Delhi, complete with web cams. The cameras allowed researchers to observe children’s curiosity about and subsequent use of the computers. Even children who could not read quickly began navigating the web! Aside from teaching themselves skills their parents typically don’t have, the children have to learn to cooperate and share these public computers. See more at his website.

Source:

Veldhoen, Lex. (2007, January/February). “Pulling themselves up by their keyboards.” Ode: 38-41

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith is the rollicking third book in a series that follows the adventure of the young witch, Tiffany Aching, and a tribe of miniature blue men who are sworn to protect her.

In Wintersmith, 13-year old Tiffany attracts the unwanted attention of a boy… well, a God actually – the Wintersmith himself – and that’s when things really get chilly.

Whether or not you’ve read the first two (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky), you’ll have a smile frozen on your face throughout this one, and I’ll venture that you’ll want to don your fleece coat and heavy boots and brave the elements in search of the first two.

Seymour Papert recuperating

If you read Learning.Now last week you already know that the world’s greatest living math (and technology) educator, Seymour Papert, is recovering from a serious accident. Today he takes a 20-hour flight in a Swiss ambulance plane from Hanoi to Boston. All well-wishers are invited to submit pictures of flowers to this website.

In addition to boosting Professor Papert’s spirits, there is appropriately a great deal one could learn from participating. Young readers could compare the French and English versions of the site to hone language skills. Non-natives in the digital world might enjoy learning about flickr. French-reading teachers might enjoy using the related SCOOP! lesson plans for small-group activities to help their students learn about Seymour Papert and his work on getting computers into classrooms (another multilingual website).

For a great example of Papert’s thinking, read Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.