The 4 Things Modern Students Must Understand

sugataLearning technologies change student-resource interactions not only by the amount of resources that are now available to students, but also by the quality of the resources.

Instead of students being limited to the textbook they receive from their school, that may or may not be outdated, they now have access to resources from literally around the world. Websites like Project Gutenberg and the National Archives give students access to millions of resources, in various forms of media, on just about any topic they could imagine.

With that being said, quantity does not necessarily mean quality. For every respectable source of information online, there’s an endless amount of second rate information. Teaching students how to find valid and reliable sources of information is paramount to education in the digital age. However, I don’t believe it stops there.

Knowledge At Your (Digital) Fingertips

I want to talk about something interesting I learned from watching a video on Sugata Mitra. He is the Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England.

He is best known for his “Hole in the Wall” experiment, and widely cited in works on literacy and education. He is Chief Scientist, Emeritus, at NIIT. He is also the winner of the TED Prize 2013. In the video below, he talks about four things that modern students of the digital age need to learn in order to be contributing members of a global society.

  • First, they should be adept at finding information quickly and easily on the internet.
  • Next, he says they have to comprehend what they are reading.
  • Third, students will have to organize the information they have discovered in a manner that makes sense.
  • Finally, decide which information they will use to make a decision, solve a problem, or accomplish a task.

Mitra goes on to state that with these skills, there is no job or career that a students we educate today, will not be prepared for in their future.

Where do you stand on this topic?  In what ways does this philosophy align with the skills based approach of the Common Core State Standards?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Wakefield, Jane (2013-02-28). “BBC News – TED 2013: UK educationalist wins TED prize”. Retrieved 2013-03-07.


  1. Douglas W. Green, EdD

    September 20, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Great post. I would add that they also need to evaluate what they find for accuracy, credibility, and bias. Keep up the good work.

  2. Benjamin L. Stewart

    September 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I agree with Douglas Green. I think modern students need to be, above all, discerning consumers of information. By discerning consumers of information, I mean they need to read critically the vast amount of information available, and then be able to distinguish and organize which information best addresses a particular issue, problem, etc. Discerning consumers of information need to be able to recognize or search for validity, currency, reliability, and unbiased data around a particular topic. This often means understanding writing genre, rhetorical patterns, purpose, and the author’s background; understanding who the author is and the author’s perspective provide insight into writing purpose, rhetorical patterns, genre, etc.

    As more information becomes available online, being a discernible consumer of information becomes even more important for developing the capacity to make more informed decisions that address the current problems of the day.

  3. Ed Gibbs

    December 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I have used Dr.Mitra’s ideas with my 5th Graders over the past two school years with great success!