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Professor wins two top international awards


A professor, whose innovative work is helping children around the world to learn, has been honoured.

Sugata Mitra, professor of educational technology, has been awarded the Leonardo European Corporate Learning award from Germany and the AdvancED Global Educator Award in the USA.

Professor Mitra is best known for his work on the Hole in the Wall experiment. He installed a computer in a New Delhi slum and demonstrated how children can teach themselves to learn. The experiment inspired the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. His work led to the creation of Self Organised Learning Environments(SOLEs), first in the schools around north eastern England and then around the world. Another project, known as the Granny Cloud, involves getting British grandmothers to Skype children in other countries to help them learn.

Professor Mitra scooped the AdvancED Global Educator Award at the AdvancED International Summit, in Washington DC, last month. It is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated unparalleled leadership in promoting and advancing excellence in global and international education.

He also won the Leonardo award in the Crossing Borders: Challenging established ways of thinking category for his work.

Judges said: “With his revolutionary view of children's creativity Sugata Mitra has also become involved in the issue of increasing educational opportunities in remote locations where schools and teachers are in scarce supply.

“Mitra has inspired education experts around the world to re- think learning methods and to develop a new learning design for talent management – in school education as well as corporate learning.”

Professor Mitra said: “It is always nice to know that other people think the work you are doing is worthwhile. These awards highlight the continuing need to find ways to help children learn and I hope to be able to continue developing the projects I have put in place.”

published on: 17 July 2012