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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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Speed cameras - Posted by Param


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Goa



How do speed cameras know when you are speeding?

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How do speed cameras know when you are speeding?

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Cars | Speed | speed cameras | Technology

Inspiring families to learn together


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: New Jersey



Like many before him, Steven Delpome was inspired to try SOLE after hearing Sugata Mitra talk.

“I was listening to him on the TED Radio Hour and got fascinated by the whole idea,” he explains. Up until then I was a believer like everyone else that you tell children to do things, they practice, learn it and move on. Then the test says ‘they passed’ so they’re good.”

At that point in our chat, Steven pauses to reflect on what he just said: “I’ve moved on so far since then –

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Like many before him, Steven Delpome was inspired to try SOLE after hearing Sugata Mitra talk.

“I was listening to him on the TED Radio Hour and got fascinated by the whole idea,” he explains. Up until then I was a believer like everyone else that you tell children to do things, they practice, learn it and move on. Then the test says ‘they passed’ so they’re good.”

At that point in our chat, Steven pauses to reflect on what he just said: “I’ve moved on so far since then – that sentence makes so little sense to me right now!” he laughs.

Later that year he started experimenting a little in class to see what the kids could do on their own. He didn’t rush into it though – he spent seven months researching SOLE before he took the leap. “I thought ‘let’s try it once and see how it goes’,” he says. So the 6th grade English teacher picked a question off the list of Big Questions  What is irony?

“I followed the pattern word for word and it was fairly brilliant,” Steven explains. He ran the SOLE on the Friday of a long weekend and on the following Tuesday, he pulled the kids aside for 1:1s to see what they remembered. The concept had stuck for almost all of them.

“What impressed me was that they didn’t all have the same answer – they were able to build their own understanding around it,” he says. For example, one girl had found a video online that showed the difference between surprise and irony which made it clear to her.

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Children | Education | families | Libraries | Schools | SOLE | Technology

The Big Question

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Robots: Replace humans?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Could robots ever replace humans?

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Could robots ever replace humans?

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Artifical Intelligence | Humans | Robots | Technology | The Future

The Big Question

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iPad: How does it know its location?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How does an iPad know where it is?

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How does an iPad know where it is?

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Computers | Digital Technology | iPad | Location | Technology

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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SOLES, Technology and Teachers


  Author - School in the Cloud



With SOLEs & Technology, does the teacher role become redundant?

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With SOLEs & Technology, does the teacher role become redundant?

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Education | SOLE | Teachers | Technology

The Big Question

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More Technology: Would education be different?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How would education be different if we added more technology?

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How would education be different if we added more technology?

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Digital Technology | Education | Education Technology | Learning | Technology

The Big Question

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Future Cities


  Author - School in the Cloud



What do you think our future cities will look like?

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What do you think our future cities will look like?

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Cities | Climate Change | Environment | Sustainability | Technology | The Future

The Big Question

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Historians: Your past


  Author - School in the Cloud



How are historians of the future going to know about your past?

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How are historians of the future going to know about your past?

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Archaeology | Artefacts | Historians | History | Political History | Social History | Technology | The Future | The Past

The Big Question

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Technology: What would you make that doesn't exist?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Given unlimited money and resources, what technology would you make that doesn’t exist today and why?

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Given unlimited money and resources, what technology would you make that doesn’t exist today and why?

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Creativity | Design | Inventions | Technology

The Big Question

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World without Computers


  Author - School in the Cloud



What would happen if all the computers in the world suddenly disappeared?

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What would happen if all the computers in the world suddenly disappeared?

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Computers | Technology | The Future

The Big Question

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Internet: Open, Free, Protected


  Author - School in the Cloud



How can you maintain our open and free Internet, yet at the same time protect users from abusive or harmful content?

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How can you maintain our open and free Internet, yet at the same time protect users from abusive or harmful content?

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Censorship | Digital Technology | Freedom of Speech | Human Rights | Internet | Social Media | Technology

The Big Question

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Living Alone with Technology


  Author - School in the Cloud



Can people remain happy living alone with their technological gadgets e.g. robots, tablets etc.?

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Can people remain happy living alone with their technological gadgets e.g. robots, tablets etc.?

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Digital Technology | Life Science | People | Robots | Social Studies | Sociology | Technology

The Big Question

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Robots: When they do jobs we don't like


  Author - School in the Cloud



When robots will be able to do all jobs we do not like, what will be our way to live and work?

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When robots will be able to do all jobs we do not like, what will be our way to live and work?

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Employment | Jobs | Life | Robots | Social Science | Social Studies | Society | Technology | The Future | Work

The Big Question

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Designing a New Computer


  Author - School in the Cloud



If you could design a new type of computer, what would it be like?

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If you could design a new type of computer, what would it be like?

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Computer Engineering | Computers | Design | Technology | The Future

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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Computers: How do they know what to do?


  Author - School in the Cloud



How does a computer know what to do?

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How does a computer know what to do?

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Coding | Computer Science | Computers | Technology

The Big Question

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Social Media: Deeper relationships?


  Author - School in the Cloud



Does social media deepen our relationships with the people around us?

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Does social media deepen our relationships with the people around us?

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Digital Technology | Relationships | Social Media | Technology

The Big Question

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Volume of Plastic in the Oceans


  Author - School in the Cloud



How can we measure the amount of plastic in the ocean using an optical device?

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How can we measure the amount of plastic in the ocean using an optical device?

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Environment | Marine Biology | Measurement | Oceans | Optical Devices | Plastics | Pollution | Technology | Waste

The Big Question

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Internet - how it works


  Author - School in the Cloud



How does the internet work?

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How does the internet work?

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Digital Technology | Internet | Technology

The Big Question

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Artifical Intelligence


  Author - School in the Cloud



If computers became more clever than people, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

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If computers became more clever than people, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

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Artifical Intelligence | Computers | Digital Technology | Intelligence | People | Technology | The Future

The Big Question

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Controlling the Internet


  Author - School in the Cloud



How do people control the Internet?

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How do people control the Internet?

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Computer Engineering | Internet | Technology

The Big Question

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iPhone and Harvesting of Wheat in Iran


  Author - School in the Cloud



How did the harvesting of wheat in Iran 11,000 years ago lead to the creation of an I phone in California?

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How did the harvesting of wheat in Iran 11,000 years ago lead to the creation of an I phone in California?

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Agriculture | Capitalism | Digital Technology | History | Human Beings | Iran | Technology

The Big Question

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Email


  Author - School in the Cloud



What is an email and how does it work?

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What is an email and how does it work?

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Digital Technology | Email | Technology

The Big Question

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Learning with technology


  Author - School in the Cloud



How far does technology help us learn better?

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How far does technology help us learn better?

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Digital Technology | Education | Education Technology | Learning | Technology

The Big Question

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The technology children prefer in classroom


  Author - James Stanfield



What kind of technology do children prefer to use in the classroom and would they like to use more or less of it?

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What kind of technology do children prefer to use in the classroom and would they like to use more or less of it?

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Children | Classrooms | Education | Education Technology | Learning | Technology

The Big Question

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Technology in mixed ability Functional English classes


  Author - School in the Cloud



Does technology speed up or slow down the learning process in mixed ability Functional English classes?

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Does technology speed up or slow down the learning process in mixed ability Functional English classes?

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Education | Education Technology | Learning | Teaching English | Technology

The Big Question

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Impact of Technology on Nature


  Author - School in the Cloud



Should we advance in technology despite the impact this has on nature?

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Should we advance in technology despite the impact this has on nature?

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Education | Environment | Nature | Sociology | Technology

The Big Question

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Addictive Video Games


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why are video games so adictive?

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Why are video games so adictive?

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Addiction | Digital Technology | Technology | Video Games

The Big Question

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Universal Language in Educational Technology


  Author - School in the Cloud



Should there be one universal language in educational technology?

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Should there be one universal language in educational technology?

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Education | Education Technology | Language | Technology

The Big Question

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Robot doing our jobs


  Author - School in the Cloud



Why do we need robots to work for us if so many people do not have jobs?

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Why do we need robots to work for us if so many people do not have jobs?

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Employment | Robots | Society | Technology | Work

The Big Question

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Speed of the Internet


  Author - Indigo Admin



Can you measure the speed of internet with a formula for speed as in regular physics?

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Can you measure the speed of internet with a formula for speed as in regular physics?

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Internet | Maths | Measurement | Speed | Technology

The Big Question

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Technological development among indiginous communities


  Author - School in the Cloud



Is there any technological development among indiginous communities (e.g.basarwa of Botswana ) living in their natural habitats?

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Is there any technological development among indiginous communities (e.g.basarwa of Botswana ) living in their natural habitats?

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Communities | Humans | Indiginous Communities | People | Sociology | Technology

The Big Question

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How communication changed our lives


  Author - School in the Cloud



How did each big advancement in communication change our lives?

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How did each big advancement in communication change our lives?

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Communication | Social Science | Technology

six_year_olds_india_feature SOLE comes naturally to six-year-olds in India

TED Lab - Phaltan

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TED Lab - Phaltan

SOLE comes naturally to six-year-olds in India


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Partner(s) - TED Lab - Phaltan

  Location: Phaltan



Non-digital natives never cease to be amazed at how quickly small children learn to interact with technology, especially since many of us hadn’t even encountered computers until we were in our teens or older.

And at Area 4 Phaltan SOLE lab in India researchers are seeing first hand just how naturally this comes to very young children just six and seven-years-old.

Phaltan is an important research centre for SOLE. It is one of two School in the Cloud labs created inside a school and here Grades 1 to 7 are all involved in self-organized learning. Not only did the children help design the lab,

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Non-digital natives never cease to be amazed at how quickly small children learn to interact with technology, especially since many of us hadn’t even encountered computers until we were in our teens or older.

And at Area 4 Phaltan SOLE lab in India researchers are seeing first hand just how naturally this comes to very young children just six and seven-years-old.

Phaltan is an important research centre for SOLE. It is one of two School in the Cloud labs created inside a school and here Grades 1 to 7 are all involved in self-organized learning. Not only did the children help design the lab, they also take responsibility for it and have participated in many different kinds of ‘experiments’, including connecting with George Stephenson High School in the UK for joint SOLE sessions.

A key focus of research at this lab is to see what happens with the younger children. While early intervention is effective in most educational circumstances, School in the Cloud research director Dr Suneeta Kulkarni and one of the grannies, Prasanna Hulikavi, (now on a break to work on her doctoral research) were particularly keen to see how SOLE would impact Grades 1 and 2.

“We realized straight away that they had none of the inhibitions of the older children,” explains Suneeta. “From their very first day in the lab they just rushed to the computers to try them out – they had no worries about breaking anything or doing it wrong. The teachers were amazed how quickly found Google and began searching without anyone telling them anything.”

Suneeta told me how the teachers at A4 Phaltan have embraced SOLE even though they don’t completely understand it, instinctively recognising that it’s working for the children. “There was one teacher who was very strongly against it and was very angry with me the first time we welcomed the children to the lab and told him he should ‘stay away’,” explains Suneeta.

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Digital Technology | Granny Cloud | Technology | WhatsApp

uganda_feature Hello Sugata, Hello Uganda!

SOLE Central

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SOLE Central, Project Hello World

Hello Sugata, Hello Uganda!


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Partner(s) - SOLE Central, Project Hello World

  Location: Uganda



Most of us take Skype for granted these days, but for a group of children in sub-Saharan Africa it’s nothing short of magic.

Yesterday morning Sugata beamed into Hello Hub Uganda to talk to a group of children who had never used this technology before. Initially, there was a lot of nervous giggling while it sunk in that when they waved, this strange man on the computer screen responded to them in real time.

However, within a matter of minutes the community at St James Primary School gained in confidence, with one student asking Sugata where he was in the world.

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Most of us take Skype for granted these days, but for a group of children in sub-Saharan Africa it’s nothing short of magic.

Yesterday morning Sugata beamed into Hello Hub Uganda to talk to a group of children who had never used this technology before. Initially, there was a lot of nervous giggling while it sunk in that when they waved, this strange man on the computer screen responded to them in real time.

However, within a matter of minutes the community at St James Primary School gained in confidence, with one student asking Sugata where he was in the world. When he responded with a description of the harsh reality of weather in North East England this time of year, their faces were a mixture of fear and disgust – they decided pretty quickly they weren’t keen on the idea of winter!

“It’s a lovely moment when they realise they’re actually talking to a real person who can see and hear them too,” explains Katrin Macmillan, CEO and founder of Projects for All, which is installing these Hello Hubs – solar-powered outdoor computer stations – across sub-Saharan Africa.

But this wasn’t just memorable for the children – it was also a significant event for Katrin Macmillan and Roland Wells. They were inspired to set up Hello Hubs after watching Sugata’s TED talk ‘Build a School in the Cloud’ so having him Skype into the project was a dream come true.

“Seeing children access the Internet for the very first time is a moving and humbling event to witness and it’s great to link Sugata into a Hub as he’s the reason we’re here,” explains Katrin. “Without him we wouldn’t know so much about child-led education and his research helped to define this project.

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Africa | Environment | Skype | Technology

sole_searching_feature It's time to ask SOLE-searching questions

SOLE Central

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SOLE Central

It's time to ask SOLE-searching questions


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Partner(s) - SOLE Central

  Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne



SOLE researchers are getting ready to ‘hack’ the largest education research conference in the UK.

As far as we know, this is the first time that self organized learning has been integrated in this way and it’s likely to come as a bit of a surprise to many delegates at the BERA (British Educational Research Association) conference in Northern Ireland this week.

Gone will be the traditional conference set-up of an attentive audience listening to an authoritative speaker, replaced instead with an audience-led exploration of the technology/pedagogy divide.

Getting down with the kids: a self organized conference session is being led by SOLE Central research fellow Dr Anne Preston.


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SOLE researchers are getting ready to ‘hack’ the largest education research conference in the UK.

As far as we know, this is the first time that self organized learning has been integrated in this way and it’s likely to come as a bit of a surprise to many delegates at the BERA (British Educational Research Association) conference in Northern Ireland this week.

Gone will be the traditional conference set-up of an attentive audience listening to an authoritative speaker, replaced instead with an audience-led exploration of the technology/pedagogy divide.

Getting down with the kids: a self organized conference session is being led by SOLE Central research fellow Dr Anne Preston.
 Participants will be choosing one of three Big Questions put forward on social media in the lead up to the conference. “Who knows what might happen?” says Anne. “It’s likely, in true SOLE style, to descend into total chaos for a while, but hopefully something meaningful will emerge by the end of it all.”

The idea for this session originally stemmed from the reaction to a keynote given by Sugata Mitra last year at the IATEFL conference. Many English language teaching professionals in the audience notoriously walked out when he suggested that in future teaching would be redundant.

“While we have readily embraced most of what the Internet has to offer with hardly a murmur of dissent, when someone suggests it can also be used to help children teach themselves, it causes a lot of soul searching (no pun intended!) from a fair few educationalists,” says Anne.

So who is right and who is wrong? The indignant teachers or the professor who leads SOLE Central at Newcastle University, a team dedicated to bringing together researchers,

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BERA | Digital Technology | Education | Language | Pedagogy | Technology