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There are many ways to get involved with School in the Cloud, from running your own SOLE to becoming a Granny or carrying out research with us.


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A useful guide to how to run your own SOLE. Our toolkit is free to use and adapt to your own environment through Creative Commons licence.


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School in the Cloud is learning at the edge of chaos; a place to come together to discover and explore self-organised learning (SOLE).


Big Questions


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A great Big Question will get your SOLE off to a flying start, but deciding what to ask is the hardest part! Children love questions with no easy answer.


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The Big Question

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Brightness of the sun - Posted by Elizabeth Shackleton


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Ben Franklin Elementary



Why is the sun apparently much brighter than the other stars in relation to its distance from the Earth?

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Why is the sun apparently much brighter than the other stars in relation to its distance from the Earth?

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Astronomy | Physics | Sun

The Big Question

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Car headlights - Posted by Param


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Goa



If a car runs at the speed of light, will the headlights work?!

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If a car runs at the speed of light, will the headlights work?!

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car | Physics | Speed

The Big Question

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Sugar in tea - Posted by Param


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Goa



Why does sugar dissolve faster in hot tea than in iced tea?

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Why does sugar dissolve faster in hot tea than in iced tea?

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Physics | tea | Temperature | Water

The Big Question

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Space - Posted by Dhanashree Rajopadhye


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: India



Why is space dark?

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Why is space dark?

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Light | Physics | Solar System

The Big Question

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Atoms - Posted by Chinmay Gaikawad


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Kasarde



How was the atom formed?

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How was the atom formed?

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atoms | Physics

The Big Question

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Email: How are they sent?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How does an email travel from one device to another?

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How does an email travel from one device to another?

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Computer Science | Digital Technology | Email | Physics | Science | Technology

The Big Question

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The world is flat?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why did people used to think that the world was flat?

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Why did people used to think that the world was flat?

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Earth | History | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Falling Trees


  Author - School in the Cloud



If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

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Philosophy | Physics | Sound | Trees

The Big Question

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Time: When did it start?


  Author - School in the Cloud



When did time begin?

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When did time begin?

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Maths | Physics | Science | Time

The Big Question

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Rainbows: How are they formed?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How is rainbow formed?

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How is rainbow formed?

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Climate | Nature | Physics | Rainbows | Science | Weather

The Big Question

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Water: Why does it pass through a sieve?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why does water pass through a sieve?

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Why does water pass through a sieve?

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Chemistry | Physics | Science | Sieve | Water

The Big Question

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Machines: Running forever?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Is it possible to create a machine that will run forever?

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Is it possible to create a machine that will run forever?

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Computer Engineering | Engineering | Engineering Design | Machines | Motion | Physics | Technology

The Big Question

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Air: A poor conductor of heat?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why is air a poor conductor of heat?

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Why is air a poor conductor of heat?

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Air | Environment | Heat | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Bicycle Wheel Spokes


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why do bicycle wheels have spokes?

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Why do bicycle wheels have spokes?

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Bicycles | Maths | Physics | Wheel Spokes | Wheels

The Big Question

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Time: What is it?


  Author - School in the Cloud



What is time?

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What is time?

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Physics | Science | Time

The Big Question

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Eliminating Friction on Earth


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why can’t we totally eliminate friction on earth?

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Why can’t we totally eliminate friction on earth?

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Earth | Friction | Physics

The Big Question

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Electricity: Where does it come from?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Where does electricity come from?

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Where does electricity come from?

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Electricity | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Fan Wings


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why does fan (wings) rotates in clock wise direction?

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Why does fan (wings) rotates in clock wise direction?

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Electronics | Fans | Physics

The Big Question

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Universal Positive Energy


  Author - School in the Cloud



Is there a universal positive energy as well as a universal negitive energy?

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Is there a universal positive energy as well as a universal negitive energy?

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Energy | Negative Energy | Physics | Positive Energy | Space

The Big Question

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Sound


  Author - School in the Cloud



What is sound?

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What is sound?

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Hearing | Physics | Sound | Vibrations

The Big Question

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Time in Reverse


  Author - School in the Cloud



Is it possible for the human conscious to experience a happening backwards? Could time truly move in reverse?

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Is it possible for the human conscious to experience a happening backwards? Could time truly move in reverse?

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Consciousness | Physics | Time

The Big Question

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Falling Things


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why do things fall?

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Why do things fall?

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Gravity | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Tennis Racket


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why is a tennis racket shaped like that?

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Why is a tennis racket shaped like that?

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Physics | Sport | Tennis

The Big Question

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Life: Is it real?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How do we know that we are real?

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How do we know that we are real?

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Life | Life Science | Philosophy | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Light and Mirrors


  Author - School in the Cloud



If a lightbulb is suspended in a perfectly square room made of mirrors only, what will happen to the light in the room when the light turns off?

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If a lightbulb is suspended in a perfectly square room made of mirrors only, what will happen to the light in the room when the light turns off?

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Energy | Lights | Mirrors | Physics

The Big Question

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Altitude


  Author - School in the Cloud



Does altitude impact human gas production?

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Does altitude impact human gas production?

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Altitude | Biology | Chemistry | Geology | Human Beings | Humans | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Dark Matter


  Author - School in the Cloud



Does dark matter really exist?

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Does dark matter really exist?

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Astrophysics | Matter | Physics | Quantum Mechanics | Relativity | Science | Universe

The Big Question

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Law of Physics


  Author - School in the Cloud



Who wrote the laws of physics?

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Who wrote the laws of physics?

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Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Lasers


  Author - School in the Cloud



What is a laser?

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What is a laser?

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Light | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Colour - What is it?


  Author - School in the Cloud



What is color?

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What is color?

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Colour | Physics | Science

The Big Question

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Hearing Sound


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why can you hear sound around corners but not see around corners?

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Why can you hear sound around corners but not see around corners?

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Biology | Hearing | Physics | Science | Sound

Testing time for students - feature image A testing time for students

SOLE Central

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SOLE Central, TED Lab - Greenfield Arts (Room 13)

A testing time for students


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Partner(s) - SOLE Central, TED Lab - Greenfield Arts (Room 13)

  Location: Newton Aycliffe



How do you tell one quantum particle from another? No, it’s not a bad joke, it’s a question posed to the Engine Heads at Greenfield Community College.

Seventeen-year-old Harry Crawley was shadowing Sugata Mitra for a day to find out more about SOLEs. He’s currently studying maths, further maths, physics and Spanish and his questions certainly had this group of 14-year-olds scratching their heads.

The scientific challenges he devised were based on A level questions normally tackled by students four years older.

“They found it quite difficult as it was quite a bizarre experience,

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How do you tell one quantum particle from another? No, it’s not a bad joke, it’s a question posed to the Engine Heads at Greenfield Community College.

Seventeen-year-old Harry Crawley was shadowing Sugata Mitra for a day to find out more about SOLEs. He’s currently studying maths, further maths, physics and Spanish and his questions certainly had this group of 14-year-olds scratching their heads.

The scientific challenges he devised were based on A level questions normally tackled by students four years older.

“They found it quite difficult as it was quite a bizarre experience, unlike anything they normally do in a SOLE,” says Katy Milne, Director of Arts and Creativity. “They were given the Big Questions to explore SOLE-style in groups but had to answer it on their own as if they were taking an exam.”

It was all part of Sugata’s plan to illustrate how the examination system could be changed to better suit the needs of students and their future employers. He argues that the current exams do little other than test their ability to retain facts, which fails to prepare them adequately for today’s workplaces.

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Visiting journalist Joseph Lee from the TES, a weekly UK publication aimed primarily at school teachers in the UK, sat in on the Greenfield SOLE. He wrote a feature for the TES earlier this month about Sugata’s research which showed that eight-year-olds could answer exam questions seven years ahead of their age group if they worked together using the Internet.

Pupils from nearby Byerley Park Primary School have also been taking part in SOLEs in Greenfield’s Room 13 several times a term since January. Katy has noticed that regular sessions with these 10-year-olds have already resulted in some interesting developments.

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Greenfield Arts | Inventions | Maths | Physics | Quantum Mechanics | Quantum Particle | Spanish | TED Prize | TES | Victorians

got_sole_feature So you think you've got SOLE? Sugata Mitra explains the science behind it

SOLE Central

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SOLE Central

So you think you've got SOLE? Sugata Mitra explains the science behind it


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Partner(s) - SOLE Central

  Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne



Sugata recently appeared on BBC World Service’s The Forum programme to talk about SOLEs and his idea for school exams in the future. We thought you might like to hear some of what was discussed on this blog.

“It’s important to understand the sense in which I use the word ‘self organising system’,” says Sugata. “It’s not organisation of the self. I find increasingly that people mix it up with self-regulated or self-directed learning and that’s not what I’m talking about.

“A self organising system is basically a concept that comes out of maths and physics which is that if you allow a system to be chaotic then,

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Sugata recently appeared on BBC World Service’s The Forum programme to talk about SOLEs and his idea for school exams in the future. We thought you might like to hear some of what was discussed on this blog.

“It’s important to understand the sense in which I use the word ‘self organising system’,” says Sugata. “It’s not organisation of the self. I find increasingly that people mix it up with self-regulated or self-directed learning and that’s not what I’m talking about.

“A self organising system is basically a concept that comes out of maths and physics which is that if you allow a system to be chaotic then, under certain circumstances, you get spontaneous order.

“I think I’ve seen that happen with children quite accidentally; initially I had not a clue that was what was happening. Yet over the last 15 years, in instance after instance, I’ve seen groups of children who simply don’t know any English confronted with the internet in English and making sense of what they see.”

Sugata also talked to BBC host Bridget Kendall about how hole-in-the-wall developed into School in the Cloud in a way that would not have been possible before the Internet, and how it has changed the way children learn.

“When a group reads together they somehow read at much higher levels of comprehension than an individual child,” he explains. “This was not something I’d seen before. The limitations of reading in print means you can’t easily read the same book at the same time in a group, but you can on screen.

“We’ve seen instant amplification of comprehension – as soon as one stumbles, another one steps in to help, creating this spontaneous order.”

Sugata says that this instantaneous feedback from peers,

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BBC World Service | Children | Education | Internet | Learning | Maths | Physics