After more than 13 years of research convinced him that children have the ability to learn almost anything on their own, 2013 TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra aspires to shape the future of learning by building a School in the Cloud, helping kids “tap into their innate sense of wonder.”
In the spirit of Mitra’s invitation to the world to “ask kids big questions, and find big answers,” we asked four brilliant young people to tell us: What do you think is the future of learning?
Here, their answers.
Adora Svitak, 15-year-old writer, teacher and activist
“One of the most powerful shifts in the future of education will come from not only the tools at our disposal, but from an underutilized resource: the students whose voices have for too long been silent. We’re increasingly pushing for seats at the decision-making tables, empowering ourselves by shaping our own learning, and taking on activist roles both online and off. To me, this signals one of the most hopeful signs of the future of education — the shift from a top-down, learning-everything-from-the-authority-figure approach to an approach characterized by peer-to-peer learning, empowerment and grassroots change.”
Kid President, 10-year-old inspiration machine
“My older brother and I believe kids and grown ups can change the world. We’re on a mission with our web series, Kid President, to do just that. If every classroom in the world could be full of grownups and kids working together, we’d live in a happier world. Kids want to know about the world and about how they can make an impact. Kids also have ideas. It’d be awesome if teachers and students could work together and put these ideas into action. There should be lessons in things like compassion and creativity. If those two things were taught more in schools we’d see some really cool things happen.”
Ying Ying Shang, 16-year-old blogger, teen advisor to the UN Foundation, and SPARK Movement activist
“For most of my life, the media has been a constant presence, whether it’s in the form of a TV droning in the background or the billboards that whiz by on the highway or the never-ending barrage of sounds and images on social media. That’s why I know the importance of learning media literacy early. It’s so important that the power of the media be recognized, both in its capacity for sexualization and distortion of reality, as well as its capacity to be harnessed for good.
Also, it seems inevitable that future educators will turn to online learning tools, replacing blackboards with smartboards and note packets with YouTube videos. In the wake of this shift, analysis and critical thinking skills should be taught more than ever in classrooms.”
Thomas Suarez,13-year-old app developer and founder of Carrot Corp, Inc.
“The future of education should include programming as a major subject. The class will allow students to collaborate on code, teach each other, and communicate outside of the classroom using services such as Google+. This way, students will think more during other classes, be much more likely to get a job and, most important, have fun.”