Most schools in rural India are unequipped to deal with educating and enlightening the young minds in terms of infrastructure and skilled teachers. 2013 TED prize winner Professor Sugata Mitra has the solution for it, an educational platform where students search for their answers on the Internet and also provide a Cloud network where students get adult guidance in their education. Located in a rural Montessori middle-school in Dasghara, West Bengal, about three hours from Kolkata, Sugata Mitra has opened the smallest school in the Cloud research lab under six and a half lakh rupees. Professor Mitra says, “This is part of an experiment to see just what was possible if I aimed small and employed local contractors, personally handling the project management from start to finish.”
There are two programmes this small school has to offer, SOLE and SOME. “SOLEs (self-organised learning environments) are an innovative approach to learning being used all over the world. In SOLEs, children work in groups using the Internet to find their own answers to the questions they want to ask. SOMEs (self-organized mediation environments – better known as The Granny Cloud) bring in the ‘grandmother effect’ - an encouraging and enthusiastic adult on the sidelines who helps the children with their language and confidence level,” says Mitra. He also believes that a computer can never replace a good teacher. “There are places in the world where good teachers simply do not exist and a SOLE provides access to an education that a child may not otherwise be able to obtain,” he says.
Reach Out: www.theschoolinthecloud.org