[P2P-F] Fwd: Wired : learner centered movement

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Fri Oct 18 13:03:27 CEST 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson <dante.monson at gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 2:16 AM
Subject: Wired : learner centered movement
To: "econowmix at googlegroups.com" <econowmix at googlegroups.com>, "
netention-dev at googlegroups.com" <netention-dev at googlegroups.com>, "
global-survival at googlegroups.com" <global-survival at googlegroups.com>


*a new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to
evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new
ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a
commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that
emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration.*

entire article : http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/all/

*student centered movement :

" TED has created a toolkit full of ideas for jumpstarting student-centered
learning in your home, local community, or school. It’s called SOLE: How to
Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community. Download it
here <http://www.ted.com/pages/sole_toolkit> and share your story afterward
on the SOLE Tumblr <http://tedsole.tumblr.com/>."

further large excerpts :

Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students
can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children
to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the


“If you put a computer in front of children and remove all other adult
restrictions, they will self-organize around it,” Mitra says, “like bees
around a flower.”

A charismatic and convincing proselytizer, Mitra has become a darling in
the tech world. In early 2013 he won a $1 million grant from TED, the
global ideas conference, to pursue his work.

He’s now in the process of establishing seven “schools in the cloud,” five
in India and two in the UK. In India, most of his schools are single-room
buildings. There will be no teachers, curriculum, or separation into age
groups—just six or so computers and a woman to look after the kids’ safety.
His defining principle: “The children are completely in charge.”

Mitra argues that the information revolution has enabled a style of
learning that wasn’t possible before.


Mitra’s work has roots in educational practices dating back to Socrates.
Theorists from Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi to Jean Piaget and Maria
Montessori have argued that students should learn by playing and following
their curiosity.


In recent years, researchers have begun backing up those theories with
evidence. In a 2011 study, scientists at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa scanned the brain activity of
16 people sitting in front of a computer screen.


The study found that when the subjects controlled their own observations,
they exhibited more coordination between the hippocampus and other parts of
the brain involved in learning and posted a 23 percent improvement in their
ability to remember objects. “The bottom line is, if you’re not the one
who’s controlling your learning, you’re not going to learn as well,” says
lead researcher Joel Voss, now a neuroscientist at Northwestern University.


A similar study at UC Berkeley demonstrated that kids given no instruction
were much more likely to come up with novel solutions to a problem. “The
science is brand-new, but it’s not as if people didn’t have this intuition
before,” says coauthor Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at UC

Gopnik’s research is informed in part by advances in artificial
intelligence. If you program a robot’s every movement, she says, it can’t
adapt to anything unexpected. But when scientists build machines that are
programmed to try a variety of motions and learn from mistakes, the robots
become far more adaptable and skilled. The same principle applies to
children, she says.


Evolutionary psychologists have also begun exploring this way of thinking.
Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College who studies children’s
natural ways of learning, argues that human cognitive machinery is
fundamentally incompatible with conventional schooling. Gray points out
that young children, motivated by curiosity and playfulness, teach
themselves a tremendous amount about the world. And yet when they reach
school age, we supplant that innate drive to learn with an imposed
curriculum. “We’re teaching the child that his questions don’t matter, that
what matters are the questions of the curriculum. That’s just not the way
natural selection designed us to learn. It designed us to solve problems
and figure things out that are part of our real lives.”

Some school systems have begun to adapt to this new philosophy—with outsize
results. In the 1990s, Finland pared the country’s elementary math
curriculum from about 25 pages to four, reduced the school day by an hour,
and focused on independence and active learning. By 2003, Finnish students
had climbed from the lower rungs of international performance rankings to
first place among developed nations.


Juárez Correa had mixed feelings about the test. His students had succeeded
because he had employed a new teaching method, one better suited to the way
children learn. It was a model that emphasized group work, competition,
creativity, and a student-led environment. So it was ironic that the kids
had distinguished themselves because of a conventional multiple-choice
test. “These exams are like limits for the teachers,” he says. “They test
what you know, not what you can do, and I am more interested in what my
students can do.”


But these examples—involving only thousands of students—are the exceptions
to the rule. The system as a whole educates millions and is slow to
recognize or adopt successful innovation. It’s a system that was
constructed almost two centuries ago to meet the needs of the industrial
age. Now that our society and economy have evolved beyond that era, our
schools must also be reinvented.
*Want to help teachers like Sergio Juárez Correa make a difference? Here’s
how you can get involved in the student-centered

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

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