Hands-off – Hands-on: Sugata Mitra and Russel Stannard to Attend OEB SCHOOL FORUM


One of the most charismatic research scientists of our time will be the inspiration at this year’s SCHOOL FORUM. For the first time, Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology and instigator of the famous “Hole in the Wall” experiment on self-organised learning in the slums of India, will deliver a keynote speech to teachers and principals in Germany. His “hands-off” method will be explained along with the “hands-on” approach of Russell Stannard, whose online videos on the use of Web 2.0 tools in teaching have helped to instruct educators all over the world.


Professor Sugata Mitra, who was originally trained as a physicist and biologist, is an advocate of a learning method he calls “Minimally Invasive Education”. Children aged 6 to 12 teach themselves how to use computers and study a variety of topics – unsupervised and without any formal training. Mitra argues that his method uses the power of collaboration and the natural curiosity of children to accelerate learning. It could be a solution in places where conventional schools are absent or ineffective.

The India-born academic runs several educational projects in the UK and his home country using the Internet and telephony services, such as Skype.


He is best known for his “Hole in the Wall” education project: In 1999, he placed a computer with an Internet connection in a wall in a slum in Delhi and left it there. To his delight, he found that local children who had never even seen a computer before were very soon able to use it, boosting their English and maths skills at the same time. Mitra concluded that this method would enable millions of children in poor areas “to bypass the entire school system.”


The experiment even left its mark on popular culture, inspiring the Indian Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”.


Based at the University of Newcastle, UK, Mitra continues to build on his discovery and is devising new ways to make hardware and software more intuitive, so that they enable children to reach intermediate to expert level entirely on their own.


Tips and Tricks on Free Screencasts and Videos


At the SCHOOL FORUM, Sugata Mitra’s “hands-off” strategy will be matched by Russel Stannard. He has developed training videos and screencasts for teachers who prefer the “hands-on” approach and who are keen to learn about the use of ICT and Web 2.0 tools, with which their students are already very familiar.


Stannard’s award-winning website www.teachertrainingvideos.com provides free resources on how to use iTunes, Twitter, wikis and blogs, as well as Learning Management Systems and other technologies. The site is now so popular that the search term “teacher training” returns it as number 5 out of 30 million pages on Google.


Stannard, principal lecturer at the University of Westminster, UK, teaches languages and multimedia and began using the screen-capture software Camtasia to record his own personal comments on his students’ work. Rather than handing back a written assessment, he sent the resulting video to his students.


Later he decided to use this format to provide practical and down-to-earth tips and tricks on a variety of technologies for teachers.


On his second website www.multimediatrainingvideos.com Stannard offers videos for multimedia students.


New Learning in the Digital Classroom



In addition to keynote speakers Sugata Mitra and Russell Stannard, practical and interactive sessions will be provided.


Teachers will be able to explore how computers, mobile phones, podcasts, wikis and blogs work as learning tools for primary as well as secondary schools. For example, they can find out how to start a class blog, conduct a maths class using an interactive whiteboard or carry out a collaborative science project.


The SCHOOL FORUM will take place on the afternoon of December 1st, 2010, and will be free of charge for teachers, principals and trainees.


Suggestions for presentations will be accepted until the end of September.


For more information please click here: https://oeb.global/schoolforum/home.php

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