P2P learning: Can children teach themselves?

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Speaking at LIFT 2007, Sugata Mitra talks about his Hole in the Wall project. Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves? His presentation really inspired me to learn more about how children learn.

In his presentation Mitra quotes Arthur C. Clarke who pointedly said: “A teacher that can be replaced by a machine, should be”.

The One-laptop-per-child project is all well and good, but after wathing this video presentation on Ted.com, I believe that Sugata Mitra and his Hole-in-the-wall project is a better solution, as it lets kids self organize their learning, which has value in itself, as I believe people learn better on their own, but with input from their peers. The kids even taught themselves English in order to use the computers!

And a slightly irritating presentation w/generic plingplong music:

PS: The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, which aims to build low-cost mobile computing devices for students in developing countries, has announced major layoffs.


Idea: A Google Earth for the body


Update 22. March 07: The Google Body idea has actually reached the ears of Google representative Jan Grønbech. One step closer to getting realized :P

Summary: I’ve been researching Google Earth lately, especially reading about the KML files that allows you to add new layers of information to Google Earth very easily, presenting your information on top of Google Earth.

But then I got this idea: There should be a Google Earth and a Google Map for the body, where you could rotate and navigate the human body in 3d, and zoom in, but instead of stopping on the surface, the zoom should continue through the skin, so that you could look on all the different layers, organs etc. I remember having a great encyclopedia on our home with transparent foils, each removing a layer of the body, the last layer showing the skeleton, the different parts of the body labeled with text: I spent hours studying it.

A Digg comment suggest using Jessica Alba as the female model. I would have to agree wholehartedly :)

But what if you had a much more detailed model of the human body(*), and an interface to place “coordinates” on it, and something like a geocoder and an API to make it easy for content creators of all types to present the model on their website, just like you can with Google Map or Yahoo Maps today. And you could use something like the KLM format to let users present realtime data, like articles from a search engine, from magazines and newspapers, from research institutions etc. For instance, you could load the “map”, and have a graphical representation of all the research or news publish in the last 24 hours about the human body, like cancer research, advances in medicine.

Perhaps presented as different categories or label. But most importantly, a solution that is very open for people to add on to, easy to share also in 2d, and with the ability to zoom and “fly” through the body.

Update! I just googled and found that Google is actually making this! The article is datestamped 12th of september 2007, so I beat them to it by a few months, and by them I mean the firm eHuman.com :)

Read more:
Move Over Google Maps, Get Ready For ‘Google Body’.
NBC Video