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Jason R. Atwood is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of Ethiopia ConnectED, an education initiative inspired by TEDster Sugata Mitra’s research on self-organized learning environments. Modeled on Dr. Mitra’s “Hole-in-the-Wall” project, the mission of Ethiopia ConnectED is to facilitate autonomous and child-mediated learning in resource-insecure areas of the Global South by building a network of solar-powered computer learning centers that utilize free and open source software.
Jason’s doctoral research is concerned with the psychology of learning and the sociological factors that influence student motivation and achievement: What dynamics promote and inhibit the belief that intellectual growth is possible? How does the language commonly associated with the institution of school influence whether people feel responsible for their academic trajectory? What components of classroom design and school architecture affect the desire to seek novel challenges and positively respond to setbacks and failures?
Perhaps the most important question, however, is that which was posed to him by a professor of international development: “What will you do with the knowledge you learned today that will change the world tomorrow?” Jason’s interest in educational technology is animated by the challenge to meaningfully respond to this call for action.