NRI education pioneer wins prestigious $1mn TED prize

Mitra said he will use prize to launch global initiative for self-directed learning releases toolkit for schools and families to create self-organised learning environments.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington | Published:February 28, 2013 12:55 am

An NRI education pioneer,known for his innovative “hole-in-the-wall” experiment to give computer education to slum children,has been awarded with the prestigious $1 million TED prize. Dr Sugata Mitra,a Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education,Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University,UK,accepted the award — TED’s annual prize that gives an exceptional individual the chance to conceive and launch a high-impact project.

Mitra said he will use prize to launch global initiative for self-directed learning releases toolkit for schools and families to create self-organised learning environments. “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud,a learning lab in India,where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online,” Mitra said.

Mitra developed the concept of the Cloud from his 1999 “hole in the wall” experiment,in which he carved a hole from his research center into an adjoining Delhi slum. He placed a freely accessible computer in this hole,and found that groups of street children could teach themselves how to use the computer.

For the next 10 years,Mitra expanded on his findings and created a “granny cloud” — online moderators of retired teachers — who could use Skype to encourage children with questions and assignments at learning centres.

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