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Students interview creative professor

Prof Sugata Mitra and fellow staff from Newcastle University with KEVI students during his visit to the school.

Prof Sugata Mitra and fellow staff from Newcastle University with KEVI students during his visit to the school.

A GROUP of Morpeth teenagers enjoyed meeting an innovative education guru.

Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, is probably best known for his ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment.

He knocked a hole in the wall of his office in New Delhi, India, a decade ago so children in the nearby slum could play on one of his computers.

A team of four King Edward VI School students set up a recorded interview with him and photographs were also taken. Prof Mitra told them that even though the children were working with an operating system and internet content written almost exclusively in English and they did not understand the language, they eventually worked out how to use the computer.

He said: “Everyone thought they would steal the computer, or cover it in graffiti, or just become bored with it. What actually happened was the whole community came together to work out what this thing was and what it did.”

Prof Mitra described how he went on to repeat the experiment in Tamil villages in rural India – creating Self Organizing Learning Environments (SOLE centres) that allow children to use the computer as an educational tool.

When he joined Newcastle University, he set about adapting the experiment to help North East schools form their own SOLE centres.

The four students who used the centre set up at KEVI to research Prof Mitra, interview him and record the event for the school TV station (KEVI TV) were as follows: Freddie Bowles (sound and vision), Dominic James (interviewer), Angus Kirk (photography) and Calvin Willis (Technical Manager). They will get to present their own video at an event at Newcastle University next year.

Dominic said: “‘Interviewing Sugata was a really amazing experience.

“It was a pleasure to listen to everything he said as his stories where truly amazing and he is an inspirational figure for everyone.”

 

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