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“This isn’t another book about boring old teachers.”
Sugata Mitra’s new book is arresting. It stops you in your tracks and causes you to think again. Many a good book will encourage and guide; and some will recommend better ways of doing things. This book does all of that and more. It also questions popular convention and provokes you into a new way of thinking about learning.
Sugata Mitra’s long awaited book is not only a documentation of two decades of studies into self-organised learning, it is also an invitation to explore the mind of a disruptor. Mitra deftly traces the history of his projects, offering keen insights into the thinking behind his celebrated Hole in the Wall and Schools in the Cloud experiments. He provides a compelling, personal and at times contentious narrative, replete with evidence that when given the right conditions, children really can learn for themselves.
We universally underestimate children. Sugata does not. His life’s work has been to enable children to explore for themselves, using their innate curiosity and imagination. Education is what people do to you. Learning is what you do to yourself. Digital ether allows that latter, as you will see in this book.
Twenty years ago, Sugata Mitra disrupted traditional education by installing a computer kiosk in an Indian slum and inviting children to learn together—without teachers, textbooks, or tests. Lessons from that first Hole in the Wall experiment have informed the global development of what Mitra calls self-organized learning environments (or SOLEs), where children investigate “big questions” by conducting online research. In The School in the Cloud, Mitra doesn’t call for the end of schools or the elimination of teachers.
Many people profess to know what the future of school will be. These claims are often vague, overconfident, or overly simplistic. Not here. This book is filled with examples, questions, humility, possibilities, and undeniable stories that should make us all uncomfortable with our current ways of thinking about education. This is a must-read for all who want to expand their understanding about learning.
In The School in the Cloud, Sugata Mitra presents learning at its most elemental — a child’s need to know combines with open access to information and gentle encouragement and her potential as a learner takes off.
For many years Sugatra Mitra has been one of very few saying, and evidencing, that we should properly trust children with their learning. Children saw right away that they needed to know about the past to imagine and then build their futures. So of course they know how important it is to practice imagining. Children don’t need this book; this book is for everyone else.
Sugata Mitra is the standard-bearer for a genuinely 21st century education: one that connects children’s innate thirst and capacity for learning with the massive resource of the internet – and then gets out of the way and lets them run free and grow their minds in the process. Read this book and let your sense of what it is possible for children to do, and become, be expanded beyond your wildest dreams.
The Internet provides a seemingly endless resource beyond just consumption. Leveraging years of research Sugata Mitra provides a compelling narrative on how it can empower kids to learn in ways we never imagined. The wisdom and strategies he shares serve as a blueprint to transform education now and in the future.
Sugata Mitra is one of the most original voices in education today. His unique research with children and technology around the world casts a fascinating light on the core dynamics of learning - and teaching. Children love to learn: they don’t all do well in education. Why not? In school they're usually obliged to compete with each other: what if they collaborate instead? They’re typically taught by age: what happens when they’re not? What if there’s no teacher at all? And what does all of this mean for the future of education in an increasingly connected and febrile world?