May 27, 2018
Sugata Mitra gained widespread acclaim after his TED talk on the Hole in the Wall experiment. In the experiment, he put a computer in a wall of a New Dehli slum, and found that children learned to use it all by themselves. His explorations continued, trying out whether such self-organising learning environments or SOLEs could perform as well as traditional classrooms in terms of children's learning. He since received funding from the World Bank to expand his project to a range of developing countries.
However, independent researchers who have visited Hole in the Wall sites have been disappointed, or even disillusioned, with what they found. The sites where vandalised and abandoned, to the point where two years after they were first installed, few could remember what they were there for. When they were operational, they were mostly used by older boys to play games, and girls and younger children were excluded.
In this episode, I aim to make the audience aware of the imperfections of Sugata Mitra's work, and of the possibility that it has been over-hyped.
Enjoy the episode.