India’s first ‘School in the Cloud’ facility was launched on 4 February at the Government Girls School in Kalkaji, New Delhi. The facility has become a reality thanks to the efforts of Newcastle University’s Professor Sugata Mitra who won the 2013 TED Prize and used his 1 million USD winnings to turn his dream to educate students across borders into a reality.
Professor Mitra is famous for the Hole in the Wall phenomenon that he started by allowing children of adjoining slums to have access to his computers thus providing them a platform to enjoy unsupervised learning. The experiment proved to be a success since street children with no working knowledge of the English language were able to learn how to use the computer and the internet.
He is also known to have founded Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) to allow children to seek answers to questions they may have and Self-Organised Mediation Environments (SOMEs) – better known as the Granny Cloud – which allowed Indian children to interact with retired teachers in the UK to ask questions and find answers.
The School in the Cloud will allow children to learn from each other across countries via Skype with ‘learning labs’ in India being set up in remote locations and their counterparts being in urban centres in the UK.
Professor Mitra continues to research and improve the quality of self learning for street children in India. He has made a toolkit available for anyone around to the world to utilise and post their findings to help his research. The toolkit can be accessed via the following link: http://www.ted.com/prize/sole_toolkit