Professor says phones have made spelling and grammar lessons unnecessary

Posted at 12:21 PM, Aug 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-06 12:21:45-04

Here’s an opinion you don’t hear much in the education world.

Acclaimed professor and educational researcher Sugata Mitra suggested in an interview a British magazine that he no longer thinks it’s necessary for kids to learn spelling and grammar. He credits the proliferation of new technologies like the autocorrect feature on mobile phones, for reducing the need for lessons, according to the Huffington Post.

He added, “My entire background tells me, ‘No, no, it is really bad what you are saying,’ but I think there is a change and we have to learn to live with it.”

Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University in the U.K., is well known for his “Hole in the Wall” experiment, in which he installed a computer into the wall of a poor Indian slum to see who would be most attracted to the machine. He found that curious children were the most frequent users of the computer, and that they eventually taught themselves how to surf the Internet.

It appears, however, that the professor’s ideas about spelling and grammar have not elicited positive responses. On Saturday he tweeted: