Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sugata Mitra: School in the Cloud

Sugata Mitra recently won the TED Prize for 2013. His wish is to build a virtual school where children learn from each other.

Well, I bumped into this whole thing completely by accident. I used to teach people how to write computer programs in New Delhi, 14 years ago. And right next to where I used to work, there was a slum. And I used to think, how on Earth are those kids ever going to learn to write computer programs? Or should they not? At the same time, we also had lots of parents, rich people, who had computers, and who used to tell me, "You know, my son, I think he's gifted, because he does wonderful things with computers. And my daughter -- oh, surely she is extra-intelligent." And so on. So I suddenly figured that, how come all the rich people are having these extraordinarily gifted children? (Laughter) What did the poor do wrong? I made a hole in the boundary wall of the slum next to my office, and stuck a computer inside it just to see what would happen if I gave a computer to children who never would have one, didn't know any English, didn't know what the Internet was. - Sugata Mitra