Much good can be achieved of peers learning together; bouncing ideas off each other. Healthy competition and collaboration is stimulating.
One kid sees what the other kid is doing and wants to do the same.
Another kid wants to be a part of what is going on.
The key to success is that the kids all be interested in the same topic and they have arrived at the group without coercion but with willingness and eagerness to be there.
Now in the case of Sugata Mitra's experiments, he reiterates that once he has introduced the computer to the village kids,he then leaves the kids alone. He goes away for months at a time.
There is a challenge set; sometimes there is no challenge at all but the challenge of discovery that the kids set themselves.
The main thing is that the kids are left to explore. In this scenario, a kid who has a little more knowledge than another shares what they know. Together, the kids learn naturally by exploring, trying out, playing- no adults directing the process.
They've been given something intriguing. They can do it on their own.
In the John Seely Brown case studies, Maui kids got together with a common ambition; to become the world's best surfacers.
In Seely-Brown's Commencement Speech (given at North Carolina State University), he tells the story of Dusty Payne and his six or so kids "came together to fiercely compete but also to continuously learn from each other."
The story goes,
These kids would gather in Dusty’s living room and pour over YouTube videos and their own videos of themselves experimenting – trying impossible moves, failing, failing, failing but never getting discouraged. As a group they learned, they invented, they created new aerial moves that defy the imagination... And, as we would say in business lingo, they also studied adjacent domains such as skate boarding, snowboarding, motor cross and then built analogies from them, talked them over, analyzed them to death and then dashed down to the surf to try them out.
Maui is now the center of this kind of extreme surfing. No, not the north shore of Oahu, but Maui – the island never known for producing a champion surfer. And all this because Dusty and his buddies decided they could do the impossible and they pushed each other and learned with and from each other to the extreme. These kids have mastered the art of innovation.
Take a look around your community and see what's cooking and get involved.
Start your own group if there isn't one. ; put out a call in the local papers or community centre or library or --yes, school.
Don't forget the online community. This is a wonderful place to share and collaborate on projects.
I welcome your comments!