The aim of School in the Cloud is to spark creativity, curiosity and wonder in students and inspire them to take control of their own learning. We call spaces that make this happen Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs). Sugata Mitra has conducted many experiments since 1999 that have revealed that groups of students can learn almost anything by themselves given internet access and the ability to work as a community.
SOLEs can be created by anyone, anywhere, be it educators, parents or communities. It’s simply somewhere students are encouraged to work together to answer Big Questions using the Internet. These places are fuelled by self-discovery, sharing and spontaneity.
The role of e-mediators
In remote or disadvantaged areas where access to education is limited, mediators often use Skype to join the SOLE.
We refer to these mediators as Grannies. Their role is not just to inspire curiosity, but also to help in developing language fluency and search skills that will allow children to begin answering Big Questions more easily. The existence of the Granny Cloud, which is run entirely by volunteers, means that no matter where a SOLE is, children can gain access to a supportive and encouraging adult as they begin to learn for themselves.
Every SOLE is different, but the aim is always to support children tap into their innate sense of wonder and embark on an intellectual adventure, driven by big questions. It should be fun!
Help is at hand!
For many people who are keen to try SOLE, the thought of throwing themselves into that first session can be daunting. We have tried to gather together as much information as possible to help you navigate your way through that process. This includes:
- Research papers that explain how SOLE developed and the evidence on which it is based, as well as articles by researchers and practitioners who have used – and in some cases adapted – SOLE in different contexts
- Support tools such as the SOLE Toolkit which provides a format to make sense of the different kinds of behaviours your students might exhibit in SOLE (things can look very different to more ‘traditional’ learning!) and a process you can use to evidence those behaviours, which can be a great way to start a dialogue with students about their learning experience
- Links to articles and blogs about SOLE which should help answer any additional questions you might have
- Access to a global community of people using SOLE in many different environments