A popular vision of the future of education in the internet age is that teachers will become superfluous, but research suggests that the goal of students directing their own learning is still a dream and the teacher-less classroom is not as close as you think.
Information has never been so readily available, so it is no surprise that some have questioned the role of the educator. What need is there for a fount of all wisdom at the front of the class – the so-called “sage on the stage” model – if students have the entire corpus of knowledge at their fingertips.
It is a scenario that has some influential advocates. Professor Sugatra Mitra, famous for installing a computer in a Delhi slum in what became known as the Hole-in-the-wall experiment, told a conference earlier this year that children with access to the internet could learn most things by themselves.