“The children in Ethiopia may have many many more disadvantages than our wealthy school systems, but they do have one advantage: There was no fear of failure, an abundance of innate curiosity, and a serious drive to learn and teach themselves for their own sense of satisfaction and pleasure.” - Julie DeNeen
Teachers are at the core of our educational system. Rightly so. But as we seek to use technology (online education) to both expand learning opportunities and reduce costs, we should reflect that not all learning requires a teachers.
From the informED blog post “Teachers of Faciitators? 10 Reasons Why Educators Should Step Out of the Way and Encourage Independent Learning” by Julie DeNeen (here):
.... Imagine the scene…
Children in a remote Ethiopian village wake up one morning and find a large set of boxes outside. They’ve never seen a written word anywhere- no street signs, printed books, or even cardboard packaging. Now there are boxes with something completely foreign inside.
Would they even open the boxes? The officials weren’t sure. There were no written instructions with the delivery (not that they could have read it anyway). According to the article, it took one child 5 minutes to open the box, grab the tablet inside, find the on/off switch, and power it up.
With no prior experience using technology, the English language, or any printed materials, within days these children were actively playing on average 47 apps a day. Two weeks later they were able to sing the ABC song. And five months later? Some children hacked the tablet to customize the look and feel of the computer.
In this experiment, the children taught the OLPC officials that even without a teacher, as long as they had a tool, they could educate themselves. Traditional educators can learn from this- we must move out of the way and give students the opportunity to learn on their own.....