Without a doubt, the star of ALT-C 2010 (at least so far) was Prof. Sugata Mitra (who tweets as @sugatam). His keynote, The hole in the wall: self organising systems in education, was entertaining, mind boggling and exptremely inspirational. You can get a pretty good flavour of the talk from this TED talk filmed last July and recently released as Sugata Mitra: child-centered education:
Some pretty amazing results have been achieved, both in the slums of India and the relative prosperity of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear and Italy, just by giving small groups of primary school-age kids access to a computer and a problem to solve. Prof. Mitra is now looking to test his thesis that Education is a self-organizing system for which learning is an emergent property.
Asked at the end whether the method would work with adults, Prof Mitra’s answer was “yes, while they are students and if they can work in groups around a single large display”. In other words mobile wouldn’t be as effective. Post education adults, find it harder because we have bigger egos and are afraid to try and fail in front of our peers. I just wonder if I would have the courage to use it with any of my courses.
Some other interesting post-keynote reflections are to be found in Steve Wheeler‘s and Bryony Taylor‘s blogs.