After a series of experiments revealed that groups of children can learn almost anything by themselves, researcher Sugata Mitra began his pursuit to inspire children all over the world to get curious and work together. In 1999, Sugata and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering a slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera). Soon, they saw kids from the slum playing with the computer, learning English and searching through a wide variety of websites on science and other topics, and then teaching each other.
Sugata and his colleagues carried out experiments for over 13 years on the nature of self-organized learning, its extent, how it works and the role of adults in encouraging it. His innovative and bold efforts towards advancing learning for children earned him the first-ever $1 million dollar TED Prize award.
The TED Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $1,000,000 and the TED community’s resources and expertise to spark global change. At TED2013, Sugata asked the global TED community to make his dream a reality by helping him reinvent the way kids learn. He said:
“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. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries.”
In addition to revealing his plan to build a virtual school that offers a groundbreaking child-driven learning experience, Sugata invited thinkers and doers around the world to help bring his dream into fruition by creating Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs) in homes, schools, and community programs worldwide. To learn more about Sugata’s wish, click here.
Are you inspired by Sugata’s wish? Participate!
Here’s what you can do:
-Download the SOLE: How to Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community Toolkit.
-Join the School in the Cloud mentor network of educators. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Join our TED conversation: Tell us. What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your own?
-Tweet at us at @TEDPrize and spread the word about Self-Organized Learning Environments using this hashtag: #TEDSOLE
-Make a financial contribution to Sugata’s TED Prize wish. Email: email@example.com