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The Educause Conference covers how tech helps low-income students learn

Educause is a non-profit that focuses on advancing “higher education through the use of information technology”.  On Day 2 of its annual conference, speakers covered a wide range of topics from diversity, to IT security, to visual data and more.  The main topic I want to discuss for this article is technology for low income students.

Although the world has changed significantly in the past 20 years, the education system has not. Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication, and Language Sciences at Newcastle University thinks students can be left to their own devices to learn about technology.  In his speech “Mitra recalled lessons from his famous “ hole in the wall” experiments, through which he observed how children in impoverished communities taught themselves to use computers.”

Computers have evolved to the point where children can follow directions and learn almost anything through it.  For Mitra, there are three main principles education should focus on when helping students learn.  1) a curriculum of questions, not facts; 2) encouragingcollaboration and use of the internet; 3) an assessment system that looks for productivity over process and method.

This new wave of thinking in education is not uncommon with many experts begging for change within the classroom.  In an effort to explain his thinking process Mitra asked everyone to clap.  "Who decided on the frequency? Who decided on the volume?” The answer: nobody.“

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