Sugata Mitra: The Granny Cloud
Jan 19, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I don't think this is a trivial observation. "he asked a girl to take on the role of the grandmother, standing in the background and applauding the self-directed learning going on with the 'My goodness, I couldn't have done that' empathy that all our grandmothers, or grannies, take on." And thus the Granny Cloud was born. Of course, it has to be given some sort of 'educational' role, " to tell stories, to stimulate fresh ideas and new ways of looking at the same old things." But I think the true value here is generated through the applause and the support. How valuable is it to hear "You done good" from someone you respect? You can't pay for it with any amount of money! Total: 183
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Re: Sugata Mitra: The Granny Cloud

Stephen: The glorious part of being a granny is that we don't have to say "You done good," or "You done bad", anymore. We grannies get to say to the grandkids, "You are good," and "You are amazing me" (which I think this one is what the writer was getting at), you know, all the things you wished you said to your own kids instead of "Only an A-"? Your post talks about the granny cloud stimulating fresh ideas and new ways of looking at the same old thing. I think "amazing" is the word here. Kids learning to be amazed at themselves, at their friends, even at their teachers (come out, come out wherever you are, teachers, you know you're amazed(ing) too!) and the world itself. The sense of amazement flows more easily when the judgment is tuned down. We grannies leave that up to the parents! Welcome to the Granny Cloud, Stephen. You know its' all amazing! [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Sugata Mitra: The Granny Cloud

Fair enough. What I was trying to get at is that it's the support, not the critique, that is the important feature of the granny cloud. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Sugata Mitra: The Granny Cloud

It seems obvious that this is a complex issue.
I googled "crisis in education" and found a blog by Stephen R Covey. He writes:

"The winds of education reform are beginning to stir once again. Our collective conscience is being nudged. And there's good reason. The world has moved into one of the most profound eras of change in human history. Yet our children, for the most part, are simply not prepared for the new reality. The gap is widening. And we know it.

Parents see the chaos, the economic uncertainty, the stress and the complexity in the world, and know deep down that the traditional three "R's" -- reading, writing, and arithmetic -- are necessary, but not enough."

Covey continues, "Following the election of President Barack Obama in November 2008, I was invited to Washington, D.C. to train the Obama/Bush Presidential Transition Teams in principles of effectiveness and synergistic communication. While there, President Bush invited me to meet with him in the Oval Office. We discussed many things, including the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the state of education in the U.S. I shared with him that, while I admired his belief in the need for accountability, I was deeply troubled that an almost single-minded focus on accountability may simply be pushing teachers to turn our children into better test-takers. When asked what I thought was needed, I responded, "Partnerships between schools and parents in educating the whole child, which includes developing both the character strength and the competencies required to really succeed in the 21st Century."

I happen to agree with his observation here. We might all agree with these statements, but then there would remain questions about why certain students overcome the current educational system and most do not.

"Historically, the family has played the primary role in educating children for life, with the school providing supplemental scaffolding to the family. When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home's potential for positive influence."

See "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," a book by Amy Chua.

I will suggest (and I'm not alone here) that the dynamic found in the relationships of family and nurturing contribute to a child's successful approach to learning.
Without the nurturing of encouragement we need to ask what direction the brain continues to want to learn. [Comment] [Permalink]

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