Computers In The Wall

I watched a TED talk the other day that really inspired me in my role working with eKidz.  An educator named Sugata Mitra set out to prove that kids can teach themselves just about anything – I was intrigued…

His talk (you can watch it in it’s entirety here) described his experiment.  In an extremely remote village in the middle of India where the kids in the village had never seen computers, Mitra installed computers in a concrete wall in the middle of the town, hooked them up to the Internet and then left.  Over the course of a few weeks some curious kids figured out how to use the computers.  By the end of a few short months, the teachers in the local schools reported that there had been a miracle.  The kids all started to get perfect scores on their homework assignments – they had figured out how to use Google to get answers.  Mitra’s talk goes on to describe kids teaching themselves about things that seem impossible.  His ultimate point is that kids, when intrinsically motivated, can teach themselves just about anything.

Here’s how this video inspires me as we build out curriculum for eKidz.  I think we often mistakenly feel that kids are not capable of grasping complicated concepts and so we over-simplify things so kids can “understand”.  But if Mitra is right (and I think he is) then sometimes by making it too simple you remove the challenge and subsequently, you remove the motivation!

And this is where I get excited!  If we can create an atmosphere in eKidz that challenges and motivates kids then not only will they learn on their own but they’ll learn much more, much faster than we would normally expect.  In other words, our job isn’t to cram information into kids’ heads, but to install computers in the right walls…

So our commitment is to continue to get better at building anticipation and excitement; to focus not just on information but on inspiration; and to appropriately challenge kids with problems big enough for them to want to solve on their own.

Additional Resource:

Pastor Steven wrote a blog entry titled Staying out of Trouble vs Walking in Your Calling in June, 2010 that has shaped the way we think about reaching the next generation at Elevation Church.  Check it out here.