In our conversation with the wonderful @Sugatam, it really stuck with us that the world is changing and the problems we are facing are changing at an astronomical pace.
Sugata says that when the problems change then so do the solutions. Why is it that we are still trying to support learning in the same way we did when the world was so different? We are not even talking about just pre- and post-COVID but well before this. We have covered this topic often on the podcast but as of now, we still are yet to see the paradigm shift so many have promised.
The internet changes things, surely?
The internet has brought about so many changes in the way we communicate and shop and consume entertainment, but the one thing which is not moving at the same speed of change is the way we teach. There is a nervousness perhaps that if we give students access to the internet to support learning then they will get all of the answers correct. As Sugata says during our discussion: surely if they do, then that is what we were aiming for? However, as we discussed with Hezki Arieli in Episode 181, in countries such as Israel where they are piloting giving access to the internet in exams, they have only seen a 10% in test scores, so not as problematic as some may suggest.
Allow exploration to learn
Back when the Hole in the wall experiment was launched in 1999, the world was a very different place. Yet by putting the PC in the wall and allowing access to it in Delhi, Sugata demonstrated that children and young people can explore and learn in groups without the input of an adult. More consideration should be given to allowing our young people in education to learn, try and fail on their own and where the teacher guides and supports when needed, rather than being the person who just gives the knowledge through direct instruction. If it worked then, surely it can work again?
Provide the space for group discovery
Fast forward to the north east of England and the development of the SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment) theory. Sugata allowed children to come together again in groups and again organise themselves to learn. This theory demonstrates the power of group exploration — one thing which is significantly lacking from many schools and certainly from our exams where students sit individually with no communication with others. We have talked before about skills and the importance of these but Sugata identifies that simply ‘curiosity’ can simply just be called questions, and as he puts it this has been a way of learning for many, many years. But why is it that we ask the questions? And when they get to the point where it matters, such as their GCSEs, if they get stuck, they sit in silence and the option to ask questions, explore and learn more just stops
Let’s continue to ask the questions.
So, we need to ask the questions and allow students to explore this collectively, but do so with the internet as a support mechanism. Otherwise, we are in danger of providing outdated solutions to very different problems and a very different world.
Go and give it a listen here and let us know what you think.
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