Building a School in the Cloud: leveling the playing field for every child

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Education
Tags: , ,

Last week I left Facebook after being sick of all the crap that kept flooding my newsfeed and burying any meaningful issues I wanted to share. Well, that and all the time I was wasting everyday just to see how many likes I got.

As I was making my move out, a friend suggested I try out this new Question & Answer based social network called Quora that encourages and promotes intelligent discussion. I did that and the first question I asked was: Can you bypass the traditional school/classroom setting and enable people to study just from existing online resources? Is it feasible for developing countries, esp. where English is not the primary language spoken?

I had a few very enlightening responses, but there one particular response by Harshvardhan Mandad that simply blew me away. Not at first I confess, cause I didn’t have the time to read the links or watch the TED talk till just now. His answer:

Yes it is feasible. But to make this happen we have to contribute, we have to provide resources like computer internet and guidance to those who don’t have esp in developing countries. And yes language is not a barrier.

Look at Dr Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the wall” project :

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “…” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at…, calls it “minimally invasive education.
Source : TED

Everyone who is curious to help people must watch…

Read Quote of Harshvardhan Mandad’s answer to Online Education: Can you bypass the traditional school/classroom setting and enable people to study just from existing online resources? Is it feasible for developing countries, esp. where English is not the primary language spoken? on Quora

Reading the papers really perked my curiosity, but the video(see below) was simply brilliant.

If you are concerned about educational issues, I encourage you to watch Dr. Sugata Mitra’ TED talk on the Hole-in-the-wall initiative. 22 minutes that will blow your mind and change the way you see schools forever. The kids involved in his “experiments” are ample proof how “schools as we know them are obsolete”.

He says:

My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries.

Winner of 2013 TED prize

Are you inspired by Sugata’s wish? Participate!

Here’s what you can do:

-Download the SOLE: How to Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community Toolkit.

-Read Sugata’s TED Book, Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning available on Kindle, Nook, and Apple’s iBookstore

-Join the School in the Cloud mentor network of educators. Email:

Join our TED conversation: Tell us. What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your own?

-Tweet at us at @TEDPrize and spread the word about Self-Organized Learning Environments using this hashtag: #TEDSOLE

-Make a financial contribution to Sugata’s TED Prize wish. Email:

  1. Kids Got SOLE is an organization dedicated to bringing Sugata Mitra’s SOLE learning to all students, anywhere in the world. Please check out our website for further information.

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