Are you Ready to Teach Yourself?

An Indian educational researcher, Sugata Mitra, has introduced a fascinating concept: any group of students at any grade level, given a computer, can harness the power of the World Wide Web to teach themselves anything.

And here's the kicker: they don't even have to speak English or any other language they are using for research. (One key is a "grandmother cloud," whatever that might mean.)

Watch the video and answer the questions below to earn bonus points.

1. What was the "grandmother cloud" and how do you think it helped the kids to learn the answers to these complicated questions.
2. Imagine that Mr. Dittes, on the first day back from Fall Break, wrote on the board five objectives for the 2nd Nine Weeks:
  • Research first hand accounts of the Civil War Era and describe the war from the perspective of a (1) unionist, (2) confederate, or (3) slave. Use MLA formatting to cite your sources within the paper and in a separate Works Cited.
  • Write a paper that describes a person. This paper should include at least three interviews, and all sources should be cited within the paper and in a separate Works Cited.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the novel, Huckleberry Finn, by (1) constructing a wooden raft to float down Station Camp Creek and (2) writing a story about life on that raft using Twain's storytelling methods.
  • etc., etc. (Those are the first three objectives of the 2nd Nine Weeks)
Now imagine that he pointed to the computers in the classroom and said, "Go do it. I need your stuff turned in before December 18
a. Would you learn more if the class were run this way...or less?
b. What kind of "cloud" could you call upon for help/encouragement?
c. What would you expect Mr. Dittes to do, if he weren't in front of the class teaching every day?
(7 bonus points, 1 daily assignment)