Sugata Mitra Outlines School In The Cloud Idea At TEDGlobal

From cat herding to hell breaking loose.

Professor Sugata Mitra, one of the most innovative educationalists around, has revealed more details of his cloud schools, technology-rich “pods” in remote areas that will enable children to learn via computers, with just an adult moderator for company, via a Skype connection.


“Education has not changed in 500 years. We still herd children like cats into classrooms at 9 a.m.,” he said at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh yesterday. His proposal is that the kids run their own education. There will be no curriculum, and no timetable. “We will let 300 children in on the first day and all hell will break loose. But gradually they will start to organize themselves,” he told the audience.

Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, won a grant of $1 million earlier this year, to set up the concept. An initial five pods will be set up, three in India, and two in the northeast of England, where he teaches.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.