Top professor shares his hi-tech knowhow with teaching staff

Pupils at Highbury Primary School prepare to work with educationalist Professor Sugata Mitra who was visiting the school. (left to right), Eve Kelly (nine), Zac Smith (nine), and Thomas Bolton (eight).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141294-1) PPP-140430-165757003
Pupils at Highbury Primary School prepare to work with educationalist Professor Sugata Mitra who was visiting the school. (left to right), Eve Kelly (nine), Zac Smith (nine), and Thomas Bolton (eight).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141294-1) PPP-140430-165757003
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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A PROFESSOR of educational technology has passed on tips to teachers to help improve children’s learning.

Sugata Mitra took part in a Skype conference call with teachers from Highbury College and Highbury Primary School and other headteachers.

He is a professor at the school of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University.

Prof Mitra is the instigator of the Hole in the Wall (HIW) experiment, where in 1999 a computer was embedded within a wall in an Indian slum at Kalkaji, Delhi and children were allowed to use it.

It demonstrated that, even without a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge.

Stana Boulton, deputy head at Highbury Primary said: ‘It was really useful.

‘It was about the future of learning.

‘It was really inspiring to hear him speak.

‘He shared all his research.

‘He was talking about present day schooling and how we need to prepare children for tomorrow and the future.

‘We read his research but to see how he started his journey with the Hole in the Wall computers was amazing and helpful.’

Prof Mitra also took part in a question and answer session with the staff.

At Highbury Primary School, children use a self-organised learning environment, which means they use computers to build on their learning.

Sarah Sadler, headteacher at the school, said: ‘We have a computer with several seats around it.

‘We get a group of children to work together.

‘It develops their speech and language and independent learning skills.

‘The children can go on and find out about things themselves.

‘We have been trying to use it to help our disadvantaged children who find their writing really difficult.’