Several skills that every kid once learned in school are going the way of the dodo in a hurry. Diagramming sentences is practically an extinct art, for example. Cursive handwriting and memorized multiplication tables look to be swiftly headed that way.
Apparently, the next thing that kids will no longer need to learn is spelling and grammar.
Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University in northeast England, announced that traditional language rules are out of fashion, reports the Daily Mail. Kids don’t need to waste time on those things, see. State-of-the-art computers and mobile phones can make the necessary corrections.
Spelling and grammar are “a bit unnecessary because they are skills that were very essential maybe 100 years ago but they are not right now,” Mitra said. “Firstly, my phone corrects my spelling so I don’t really need to think about it and, secondly, because I often skip grammar and write in a cryptic way.”
The professor made the anti-spelling proclamation at a time when the British government is rolling out a host of educational standards including one that will require students to take a spelling test involving 200 complex words near the end of grade school.
Another exam for 11-year-olds that tests spelling, grammar and punctuation was launched this year.
Mitra is big enough in the world of education that there is a Wikipedia page about him.
He has won a $1 million TED Prize to found “cloud schools,” notes the Mail. The goal is to allow children to learn from each other and from retired specialists.
In 1999, Mitra conducted a famous set of experiments known as the Hole in the Wall experiments. He set up computer kiosks in poor areas of India where kids could play with computers. The goal was to show that kids could learn to use computers and the internet with no formal training—even without knowing English.
The Hole in the Wall experiments moved an Indian diplomat named Vikas Swarup to write a novel called “Q & A” about an impoverished waiter in Mumbai who becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history. The book later became the Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”