Globe Ed Arenas
Sugata Mitra visited our village in 2009. He thought teachers about Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE), which was very encouraging. We want to support this work in his home country, India. Thank you , Sugata Mitra, for letting us support your fabulous global initiative!
In 1999, Sugata Mitra's pioneering “Hole in the Wall” experiments helped bring the potential of self-organised learning to the public's attention. Fourteen years of research since then, continue to support his startling results — groups of children, with access to the Internet, can learn almost anything by themselves.
From the slums of India and villages of Cambodia, to schools in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the USA and United Kingdom, Professor Mitra’s experimental results offer an intriguing new future for learning: a future in which ‘knowing’ may be obsolete.
His innovative and bold efforts towards advancing learning for children all over the world earned him the first ever one million dollar TED Prize award. This award was used to set up 7 Schools in the Cloud (SinCs): 5 in India and 2 in the UK.
Three of the Indian SinCs, Area 0 in Gocharan, Area 1 in Kirakati and Area 2 in Chandrakona, are most in need of support when the TED funding runned out in 2016. They are set outside of the mainstream school system in remote areas, where there is suspicion amongst the parents of the children who use them. It is taking longer than anticipated to establish trust and communication with the parents, but the team is making in-roads.
Over 200 children use these three SinCs. Without continuation funding beyond 2016, these centres will be handed over to NGOs, and there is concern from Sugata and his team that this will end the programme before it has had time to establish real impact on the community and before the team can collect vital statistical information to inform the research.
School in the Cloud India - Call for support
We are seeking $150,000 USD for Sugata and his team to continue to support the following villages :
Village Korakati, Bengal, India
Out of the five SOLE (self-organised learning) labs set up in India, Korakati is based in the most remote location, in the village of Sandeshkhali, 125km from Kolkata (Calcutta). Setting aside issues of connectivity in such a rural location, it poses a challenge simply to get there. Reaching this site involves an adventurous journey by road, boat and van rickshaw.
The region is impoverished in many different ways, including socially and economically, which can often lead to a different mind-set where time carries a different meaning to that of an urban setting.
Fishing and agriculture are the main occupations.
With no school close by, some of the villagers do their best to share whatever knowledge they have with the children of Sandeshkhali. If they do want to travel to a school they need to walk 9kms each way for the closest primary which caters for about 135 children from the area.
Despite the challenges of building a facility in such a remote area and the anticipated difficulties of internet connectivity, Sugata felt compelled to select Korakati for the School in the Cloud. The children there are deprived of education and have no ability to experiences the world beyond their immediate environment. Sugata wanted to give these children the ability to learn and connect with the global community created by the School in the Cloud and the Granny Cloud.
Construction was completed in March 2014 and the site is operational. The site is solar powered and includes air conditioning. Internet connectivity is through WiFi obtained from a 40 feet high tower.
While the SOLE is up and running, much work still needs to be done with local people to gain acceptance of this method of education. Locals are naturally suspicious of a form of education that is unfamiliar to them and does not fit the traditional model of knowledge transfer from teacher to student. A process of cultural change is needed. While this is a community where SOLEs are most needed it is also one where there is more resistance. Ironically, in the relatively more affluent parts of India where SOLE labs were set up - Pune and Delhi - teachers, parents and students have understood and run with self-organised learning. When TED funding comes to an end in September 2016, labs in Pune and Delhi will be self-sustaining.
However, Sugata and his team need to keep working with the children and parents in Korakati so they too, as a community most in need, can access and benefit from education delivered by the School in the Cloud.
SOLE gives you the opportunity to communicate with people outside of your village who see the world in a different light than you.
– Arun Chavan, a student from Sugata’s initial Hole in the Wall experiments.
Village Chandrakona, Bengal, India
This site is in the Midnapore district of West Bengal and is less deprived than Korakati. However, the local schooling is abysmal in terms of the facilities available and the instruction delivered.
The School in the Cloud lab is located in Kiageria village, which has a population of about 2000, with approximately 800 children under the age of 16. While there are three primary schools for Grades 1 to 4, there is only one high school [for Grades 5 to 8]. Approximately 400 children are spread across these four schools. Their parents are mostly involved in agriculture.
The district faces many challenges today and the School in the Cloud lab opens up a variety of possibilities for the community. Construction was completed and the site became operational in March 2014.
Chandrakona has intermittent electricity and is equipped with batteries and an inverter for continuous power. Internet connection proved to be unreliable but the problem could be solved using WiFi ‘dongles’ suspended from windows. Regular skype sessions are in progress in Chandrakona.
To give a sense of the SOLE in Chandrakona, Joydev Goswami, the learning lab co-ordinator asked children who visit regularly to answer two questions: ‘How do you like this School in the Cloud lab?’ and ‘What do you do here?’
It's clear that children make use of the computers for a wide range of activities: "We play games, download songs, watch video from the Internet, draw pictures, we are playing also." And "At the time of granny session we share our screen with granny doing chat." The range of different programmes they seem to have mastered is impressive!
They obviously look forward to their regular granny sessions too: "We like: 1. Granny class 2. Grannies love us and they show us story, videos etc." And they clearly recognise that the grannies value these interactions just as much as they do: "Grannies tell us stories and do not force us to do anything. They love us. They ask big questions and we find out answers from the Internet."
The children also commented on the progress they feel they have made whilst visiting the lab: "I can broadly read English. And also, talking with grannies in English. At the very beginning I could not understand anything that granny told us but now I can understand. After having gone through sessions, I can understand what the grannies are saying and I can also speak in English. We work in a group. I enjoy working here. I will be benefited from this in my near future."
Village Gocharan, Bengal, India
This SOLE become operational in January 2015. Gocharan is located about 40 kms from Calcutta, Bengal and is the flagship lab. The SOLE was set up as an independent lab set in the community; it can accommodate up to 40 children at any time.
Many of the insights already gained while setting up School in the Cloud labs in the other locations have been worked into the construction at Gocharan.
Given the proximity to an urban area, there are more facilities available for the local population that at many of the other sites, including ‘coaching classes’ (private examination-orientated tuition) and a nearby health centre.
There are four government primary schools, four government high schools and four private nursery schools. Each school has approximately 700 children.
The total population of Gocharan is around 12,000, with 5,000 children under 16. Agriculture is the primary occupation.
The primary schools are all within a 1km radius and children typically cycle or walk to school.
As in many of other locations, the schools operate in shifts. Typically, the morning shift caters to primary and the afternoon shift to the higher secondary school pupils.
The children at Gocharan share a bit about their lives....
Using a word document to pen their thoughts is something a few children are beginning to explore. Here are a few short essays they’d like to share with you. These are their first attempts at writing in English after 4 months in the lab. Do remember that their medium of instruction is Bengali!
The children’s names have been changed. The rest [spellings, punctuation etc has been left untouched!
A SUMMER DAY
My name is Ashwin. That is a day of summer vaccation. In the morning I wake up at 8.00 a.m.Then I brush my teeth and wash my face and hand. Then I go to my aunt home and practice my guitar till 10.00 am. Next my breakfast. Then in watch TV ,play game , play with my sister till 11.30 a.m.Then I am go to the pond and swimeing there for 1 hour.Then I watch T.V. for 30 minute.Then I eat my lunch at 1.30 p.m. then I sleep for one hour.Then I will go my favourite place “SCOOL IN THE CLOUD” play games, meet with granny & talk with them.
MY DAILY LIFE
my name is Tarun. I live in gocharan. Our house is on 2 floor. OUR house is sky blue. I like fried rice and meet. My school name is Ananndhara.I go 10 oclock. the school end at 3 oclock. I eat rice and fish jouce. I go play cricket. I go home at 7,00 oclock. i do my homework.
My daily life
My name is dipak. I live in gocharan . I read in class 8. My school name is T.S SANATAN HIGH SCHOOL . My hobby is playing cricket but I like to search many things in computer. I wake up at 6.00am . then i do a little bit of exercise to stay healthy and fit .Than I take my breakfast and sit to read and prepare my school work. In 10.00pm. than i take my bath and take my launch and go to school. my school start at 10.40am and breaks at 4.30pm. In 5.00pm i go to the computer lab . Near my house there is a lab named "SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD'' . I like to go in the lab and like to talk with granies . They teach us & say to search many things. I come home at 7.00pm then I sit to read .In 10.00pm i take my dinner and go to sleep. It is my daily life.
The Ushirika Association (Ushirika is swahili for partnership).
The Ushirika Association started by a small group of people with a specific interest in education for men and women in Tanzania. The need for education is great in Tanzania but financial possibilities are limited. The Ushirika Association sponsors education of men and women to become Montessori teachers. Young men and women are able to get a teacher training at Montessori Training Center at Ushirika wa Neema in Moshi. By joining the Ushirika Association you will not only get the possibility to learn more about the scholarship holders but also about Tanzania and its possibilities for every Tanzanian.
Montessori Training Center in Moshi Tanzania has educated 750-800 Montessori teachers since 1992. These In a Montessori kindergarten. Sr Limikasia educated the children so that the parents noticed that the children became self confident, knowledgable and polite. Many parents wanted this education.
Ushirika wa Neema sisterhood started a Montessori kindergarten teacher training in 1990. The Lutheran church in Northern Tanzania has decided that every parish should have a Montessori kindergarten. At the Teacher Training Center the students study all the different subjects as well as making all their materials in the afternoons. The students also have practicals.
Since 2004 the montessori parents have asked the sisters to start a primary school with the Montessori method. In 2015 the school opened with two classrooms and around 32 pupils. But new rules says a new school has to be fully built up before they can use it. So welcome to contribute to a Montessori Primary School in Moshi Tanzania. Research on what the children learn and how it affects their future life, which also affects the community would be welcome.
Do you want to support building of the school?
Do you want to support education of a teacher?
Please contact Globe Ed Foundation
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