Week 1 – Do Mitra’s and Mazur’s methods transfer to other contexts?
Week 1 – For the first task this week, I have chosen Sugata Mitra’s keynote, in fact I think I may have been at that presentation, I have heard him speak and he is a very engaging and inspiring presenter. I think what he did in his work with children worked extremely well, and demonstrated a natural curiosity and willingness to learn in children. I wonder though if this is transferable to HE and even more pertinent to my role as Academic Developer, with professional adults? I run short training courses, usually about TEL. I don’t have regular classes with my participants, just a couple of hours, and I can’t really give them preparatory or follow-up work. So would Mitra’s methods work here? If I asked academic staff to huddle round a pc in groups of 4 to find out about the pedagogic affordances of blogs and/or wikis, would it have the same response? And how would they respond to being asked to do that? Also what has stopped them looking this up before if they are curious about it? Although we really try to approach our courses from a pedagogical perspective, we do find that staff really want the ‘how’ not the ‘why’. Similar with Mazur’s peer instruction, if I used that method with academic staff on a short training course, would that work? My guess is that it wouldn’t go down well. Has anyone tried these methods in short training course contexts, particularly with academic staff? Have they worked? I would be very interested in hearing other’s experience on this.