Inspiring the Future of Learning

Inspiring the Future of Learning

A model of learning, developed at Newcastle University, is changing the culture of classrooms and inspiring many thousands of educationalists around the world.

Former Newcastle University Professor Sugata Mitra developed the concept of self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). This followed his ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiments, in which he placed a computer in a wall of an Indian slum. He observed as children taught each other subjects from English to programming.

As the 2013 winner of the $1 million TED Prize, Professor Mitra used the award and community’s resources to expand this work and create a structure in which children are guided to teach each other.

Global phenomenon

Professor Mitra’s research has gone on to become a global phenomenon, its impact extending to 27 countries across five continents. His experiments even inspired Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A, on which the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire was based.

Teachers have also been inspired to find new enquiry-based ways to encourage students to work together, solve problems and become more engaged in learning with minimal intervention from the teachers themselves.

A SOLE toolkit created for educators and learners has been downloaded more than 100,000 times and tens of thousands of SOLEs have taken place all over the world.

The Granny Cloud has been established as a global community of mediators who use Skype to work with children in SOLEs across the globe.

A team of 200 volunteers have been recruited to date and are ‘beamed’ into the learning environment to stimulate children's curiosity, develop their confidence, and generally have fun.

School in the Cloud

Professor Mitra launched a series of School in the Cloud learning labs. It's to test the extent to which small groups of children; with access to a computer, and when prompted by the right questions, can essentially learn on their own.

A school in Harlem has just opened the eighth School in the Cloud lab. The first of its kind in America which aims to build on the success of those already running in India and the UK.

The Harlem Lab is being funded by Newcastle University.


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