NEST

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Harry Kroto talks about the importance of teachers

How can new technology empower teachers.

Do we need teachers at all?

Sugata Mitra on the possibilities with Google.

Chris Hughes on the classroom of the future

About the teacher as a turor and a personalized companion.

A part of the puzzle

Harry Kroto on his GEOSET project.

Talking with teachers

Chris Hughes on the experience of teachers.

Future skills

Jeffrey Sachs on the social advantages of new technologies.

NEST

Sparking the Debate on Teaching

Opening the first round table discussions at NEST 2011, Professors Harry Kroto and Sugata Mitra revealed two powerful possibilities for redefining teaching methods with the help of new technologies.

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Sharing the brilliance of every teacher
“We need a paradigm shift in education,” said Kroto, leaving no doubt as to why he decided to participate in the Forum. He explained that the Internet is an extremely useful tool for preserving the unique talents of every teacher around the world. In this age of personal content creation, even children and students have an unprecedented opportunity to contribute to this global wealth of knowledge. “Our high school kids are fantastic teachers,” he said, referring to his own GEOSET project, in which local students are invited to record lectures that can be freely accessed online.

New possibilities in social learning
Changing focus, Professor Mitra explained that our discussions on the impact of new technologies on teaching methods must take one inevitable fact into account: Quality teachers simply don’t exist where they’re needed most. In part, Mitra said, this is an economic issue, in that talented teachers tend to be drawn away from relatively poor areas due to offers of better jobs or higher incomes. For this reason, “we need new methods of learning,” he said.

In his own experiments with SOLEs, or Self Organized Learning Environments, Professor Mitra explores the theory that, given unrestricted and unsupervised access to the Internet, groups of children can learn almost anything on their own. Provoking his audience with the question of what to do with poor teachers, he decisively stated: “If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, then he should be.”

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