If you haven’t yet had the chance to listen to education scientist Sugata Mitra talk about his “Hole in the Wall” experiments, you’re in for a treat. If you have, you’ll no doubt find this presentation filmed at TedGlobal 2010 to be chock-full of implications.
How information is stored has a tremendous shaping influence on human culture. In the early days, information was stored in the brains of men and women and passed on from generation to generation through oral tradition. The idea of writing came along, allowing humans to store information in external hard drives – first on stones, then on bark and eventually on paper. Oral tradition became less important as the written record gained sway.
Then came the digital revolution. The information age ushered in unprecedented access to information worldwide. With a little bit of bandwidth and no government censorship everyone in the world can peer through the looking glass into the entire body of knowledge that man has accumulated throughout recorded history (and then some!).
No longer is it necessary to have a head full of information to be at the top of the information food chain. Now it seems that the ability to access that information is more important than possessing the information.
Only time will tell whether this new access levels the playing field or not, but I must applaud Dr. Mitra on his willingness to challenge widely held assumptions in an attempt to improve the quality of education worldwide, especially in the corners of the earth that have been written off by the rest of the world.
Kudos, Dr, Mitra!