Self-Teaching School in the Clouds


Sugata Mitra

Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiment has changed the way education and learning is being viewed today.  In 1999 Mitra dug a hole in a wall in New Delhi and installed a computer, and then placed a hidden camera to film in real time what would happen next.  How the children responsed to this revealed a new revolution in education research.  Without a teacher present and not in a formal classroom setting, children were able to teach themselves, and each other how to use the computer.  What was also discovered during this experiment is that if children are curious enough about something they are motivated by interest to learn and teach themselves and each other.  Similar to a toddler or young child that learns to use an ipad.  This project clearly proved that without direct involvement from a teacher, an atmosphere that encourages curiosity can create self-teaching and peer to peer shared knowledge.

According to Mitra, “self-teaching may be the new classroom today where children can explore and learn from each other”, and “traditional schools as we know them today are obsolete.”  Although this statement may seem harsh or even over dramatic after watching “New Experiments in Self Teaching” and “Build a School in the Cloud” I couldn’t agree more with many of the points Mitra makes pertaining to this own research.  It only took four hours for the children to learn to use the computer without any assistance, and language was not a factor, nor was education.  Once the children became self-taught on the computer they started to teach the other children how to use it.  Another example of Mirta’s theory was in India he gave computers to a group onf children and had them use a speech to text interface to translate words, an over time the student’s accents had started to change and resemble that of what they were listening too.

In today’s classroom it may be time to back off from the traditional way instruction has been led, and begin letting students learn on their own. Personally, over time I have even realized with myself I learn best, and hardly ever forget what I learned using a hands-on approach through trial and error. When I have to read through a text book and remember information it does not stick in my brain as well.  This is not only just true for myself, but for so many other people too.  Which brings me to how I want to run my own classroom one day.  I will definitely incorporate some of the suggestion Mitra has made for modern day teachers using the “Cloud Learning Lab’ model. The first School in the United States to use the “Cloug Learning Lab” is in Harlem, and I plan to incorporate some of the lessons they use.  For example in my class I will have the students participate in a “self-organized learning environment” also known as “SOLE” the students will be given a discussion question and then asked to research it in a small group.




2 thoughts on “Self-Teaching School in the Clouds

  1. Sugata Mitra is certainly an innovator in the field of education. His work should inspire educators who want to make changes to address the needs of today’s students. Mitra’s experiments show us that students can be taught by computers very easily without formal training. With that being said, I don’t recommend that we phase out teachers! Teachers should provide students with a lot of time to collaborate and experiment with educational and technological tools. Rather than “interfering” with student learning, teachers should provide guidance through prompts, multi-level questioning, and open-ended assignments. Mitra’s work shows us that students can be very successful when given time to explore and the opportunity to work with their peers. Kristina, your plan to implement SOLE, sounds like a great start and a wonderful opportunity for your students.


  2. Mitra’s work is simply brilliant. I believe that today’s classroom are shifting away from the teacher leading the class with a lecture and or powerpoint. Instead the new Common Core Standards are allowing more opportunity for students to work together. In my Multiple Subject credential program, I have learned to stray away from teacher led discussions. Having the students collaborate and discuss new ideas are a great way to promote learning new methods.I think your idea of implementing SOLE in your classroom is brilliant. I wish you the best of luck in your future classroom! 🙂


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