"It's not about making learning happen. It's about letting it happen." — Sugata Mitra
Learning is an integral part of human nature. But why do we — as adults — assume learning must be taught, tested and reinforced? Why do we put so much effort into making kids think and act like us? In this hour, TED speakers explore the ways babies and children learn, from the womb to the playground to the Web.
After years of offering children self-supervised access to the Web, Sugata Mitra says kids can teach themselves. Mitra continues the conversation from earlier this episode by arguing that self-organized classes are the future of education, and he puts forward a bold vision: to build a school in the cloud.
Credit Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon / AAAS/Science
These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Credit University of Illinois and Beckman Institute
An insect's eye lets it see really well because each of its light-sensitive cells has a dedicated lens. This miniature camera, which mimics an insect eye, is made from an array of microlenses arranged on a stretchable sheet that can be inflated like a balloon to a hemispherical shape.
A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.
But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.
For years, many marine biologists have argued that the floating, open-ocean net pens that produce billions of pounds of salmon per year also generate pollution, disease and parasites.
In some places in western Canada, the open-ocean salmon farming industry has been blamed for the collapse of wild salmon populations in the early 2000s — though other research has challenged that claim.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Technology's already changed our lives in ways we couldn't have imagined just a few years ago, and now seems ready to reinvent our future. As we continue our series of conversations looking ahead, we've invited Farhad Manjoo to join us - he's Slate's technology columnist and a frequent guest on this program - on the latest gadgets, on the business of consumer electronics and on how we've adapted our lives, our jobs and our manners to all these changes.