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Grandmother Method

If technology is changing should education stay the same? If opportunities are opening up to change how we education should we stand in the way? In Sugata Mitra’s TED talks “New Experiments in Self Teaching” and “Build a School in the Cloud” he discusses the experiments he conducted bringing technology to places where teachers and education was scarce. Children who did not speak or read English were able to figure out how to browse, find computer games, and basically teach themselves how to use and understand the computer. This is amazing, some of the children in his experiments were able to teach themselves or teach each other children with only the help of a computer and encouragement. Another idea Mitra examines is the idea that children learn more if the topic is something they are interested in, which I think can be related to the importance of play in child development. Here is an article about play from the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

These experiments could mean a big change in education. Technology is becoming more prevalent in schools as it is, with many even adopting distance-learning programs, and more technology based learning. There are some many games on the Internet today that are fun, but also very educational. Even Minecraft is a educational game where children are learning creativity, problem solving, self-direction and collaboration.

Article about the education behind Minecraft:

As a future teacher this could mean a change in how dependent students are on the teacher to physically teach. Or will teachers become more of the “method of the grandmother” that Mitra describes in his TED talk. Having a way to combine these ideas of children being able to self teach and discover more about topics they are interested in as well as having somewhere they are being able to be socialized, and receive encouragement would be the best option.

4 thoughts on “Grandmother Method

  1. Hi Joelle,
    I like the links you included in your post, I especially liked the article about Minecraft which is something my son plays all the time in our house. I’ve often heard before how many parents approved of this game because of the skills necessary to play the game, yet I was always skeptical about it because it’s still a video game. But then I see what my son builds on there and I’m like” wow that is awesome”. He goes on and on explaining to me what those characters are doing and all this talk about an ‘Enderman’ and how long it took him to built. It was interesting to read of all the benefits it serves as its being played.


  2. Are you comfortable, as a future teacher, being seen as this role described in the “Grandmother Method”? I think it works well for the system Mitra has implemented, but I am not sure I would want parents viewing me as nothing more than an encouraging grandmother when I am a teacher. I believe in giving students more freedom to learn on their own and have time for creativity, and definitely a student-centered classroom. I guess I do not like the negative implications of a teacher being the equivalent of a loving grandmother.


    1. Hi Trisha, I totally understand what you mean. I think that the idea of the Grandmother Method that Mitra implemented was really interesting because it showed that children could learn a lot on their own with just some encouragement. Personally, I feel that as a teacher I can use the Grandmother method idea as one of my tools as a teacher, this is not saying that I won’t use other tools or training but that I see the benefit of this method as a tool.


  3. Hello Joelle,
    This is a really interesting way to think about the evolution of teaching. I believe it is important to have a school setting for many reasons. I think it is great what we have been able to accomplish with the use of technology and teaching for instance in rural parts of the country where schools are too far away students are able to learn online, But I think having a school setting teaches children social skills as well. I hope we don’t evolve into the grandmothers, because I think students need more structure. I do thought agree that we as teachers need to evolve with new teaching methods that incorporate the new uses of technology.


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