Congratulations to Sugata Mitra, who has been awarded the first ever TED prize – a million dollar grant that will go towards piloting the creation of ‘Cloud Schools’. These will be Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) – places where children come to learn, guided by their own curiosity and interest.
This is really exciting news. The Hole in the Wall project and follow up work have offered a truly radical vision for a new model of education driven by children themselves. The trend in education in recent years – more assessment, more testing, more control – has, I feel, moved education in a dangerous direction where the whole underlying reasons for learning are systematically undermined. The idea of child-driven learning and self-organised learning environments being put forward by Sugata could be one way to begin to change this. It also raises possibilities of much greater access to quality education in developing country contexts.
This research does raise a vast number of questions. Hopefully this TED award will draw more ideas and critical voices to this debate and develop, question and test these ideas. Audrey Watters, perhaps the most consistently thoughtful and challenging critical voices in the Ed Tech blogging world, has been already asking some great questions on twitter: