Sunday, 1 January 2017

SOLE and our Superhero School In The Cloud!

O has always been a curious learner from a very young age. She has always asked the how, why, what and where questions.

I can remember picking O up after school one afternoon and in the car on the way home she proudly told me that she could count in 3's. O then repeated the three times table and she was completely right. When I asked who had taught her to count in 3's, O replied quite matter of factly "oh, I taught myself, I just figured it out." O was 4 years of age!

A few nights ago Daddy superhero and I were watching a TED talk by Sugata Mitra on the School in the Cloud. School in the Cloud is a project that Sugata has set up primarily in India but it is gradually spreading to become a worldwide project. The idea behind the project is that children can explore and learn from each other using resources and mentors from the Cloud.


Sugata has founded SOLE as a result of the Hole in the Wall experiment. SOLE is a global experiment that aims to turn the world of education on its head through Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs.)

A SOLE can exist anywhere in the world where there is a computer, an internet connecton and most importantly, students who are willing to learn. At the beginning of a SOLE session, an educator poses a Big Question to the students.



How can teachers prepare students for the future without knowing what the future will be like?
The Big Question is what fires up the students curiousity and imagination and leads them to wanting to discover the answer. Big Questions are questions that don't necessarily have a right or wrong answer. They are often open ended and may be difficult to answer, they may even be unnanswerable. The aim of the Big Question is to encourage deep and long conversations between the students. To encourage them to work collaboratively, to research, use reason and think critically.

Big Questions aren't just about finding the right answers, but also about students discovering the methods and skills that are needed to find the answers.

Within a SOLE, students are given the freedom to learn collaboratively with each other using the internet. During the session students can move around, change groups, share information and spy on other groups to gain new information that they can report back to their group. At the completion of the SOLE session students have the opportunity to share with their peers what they learnt during the session.

It sounds like an absolute brilliant concept - what a wonderful way to discover new information and learn.

O watched part of the TED talk and was fascinated by the concept that children who had never seen a computer before could teach themselves how to use the internet. That these children in remote parts of India could gain knowledge, that if had they no access to the internet they probably would never had learnt.

O and L are always asking deep and meaningful questions, so I thought that I would ask one back to get O's brain ticking over. I decided to start with a "simple" Big Question."

What does तुम चालाक हो mean? And what language is it?

Well, sort of simple!

And this is how O went. O became very excited when she read the original question and then wanted to go further with her research. She navigated through the pages on Google that she wanted to read and copied the information that she thought was relevant!


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O wanted to keep going with the questions "ask me a harder one Mummy!"

The tricky part is going to be convincing O that she needs to spend most of the school holidays playing!

I wonder how many of her friends that she will recruit into our Superhero School In The Cloud in the meantime!

38 comments:

  1. Wow, what a clever girl you are raising. I too haven't heard of School In The Cloud. It sounds very interesting.

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  2. I saw a documentary about the Hole in the Wall project years ago and found it fascinating. It reinforced for me that, as a teacher, my job was to give kids the tools they needed and the opportunities to use them - I didn't teach them, I gave them opportunities to learn for themselves. I hope O never loses her curiosity and her eagerness to find stuff out, and to work stuff out for herself. What a mighty girl she is!

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    1. She is very mighty, I also hope that she never loses her curiosity to learn!

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  3. that is incredible, your little O is quite intelligent and love the idea of SOLE and nice for children to learn and share idea's.

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    1. Thank you, she certainly loves to learn. I thought it was a great concept in getting children to work together.

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  4. As a homeschool mom I always have to defend my ability and qualification to teach my kids. As qualified as I believe myself to be, I don't teach my kids. I simply provide them with tools and a space that is conducive to learning. Having O figuring out by herself how to count in 3s is proof that humans learn by themselves and do not depend solely on being spoon fed information.

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    1. Love your philosophy on teaching. Watching the TED talk made me re-evaluate my teaching style.

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  5. As a teacher, I know that students who think perform much better than students who simply memorize. We must give them the tools to use their brains and think outside of the box. This sounds like a great one.

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    1. Completely agree with you. O seems to perform better when she thinks and researches rather than memorizes. She tends to hold and understand the information much better as well.

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  6. I had no idea this SOLE project existed. Thanks for writing about it. I'm going to have to check it out for my kids.

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    1. You are most welcome, it certainly is an interesting concept.

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  7. This is the first I have heard of the School in the Cloud, but my son's school does the student lead learning and they do amazingly well. Since the entire school went to that style of learning, test scores have risen trememdously. I would love to check this out and see how my son would do with it!

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    1. That is fantastic. It shows that changing the learning style really does work.

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  8. You have a brilliant one on your hands ;-)

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    1. That we do, we just have to keep encouraging her to keep learning!

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  9. That sounds so interesting and it's great that your daughter is learning so much, and eager to do so as well.

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    1. It was fascinating and I could see O's brain ticking over as she was navigating her way around google :)

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  10. It's amazing how eager children are to learn, isn't it? I'll never forget the feeling of catching my daughter (who is 12 now but was in first grade at the time) hiding in the kitchen with a white board and a dry erase marker - teaching herself to multiply.

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    1. Oh that is just beautiful. It is wonderful when children want to find things out themselves!

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  11. such lovely family you have. been homeschooling since 2009 myself and won't have it any other way. :)

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    1. Thank you. I take my hat off to those who home school.

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  12. What a cool post to read! I don't have any kids yet but I'm still glad I got to read this!

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  13. Teaching adaptability and the willingness to accept and embrace change will help prepare the kids for an ever changing world. Just think that if the adults today had these skills. We probably wouldn't have had such a crazy election. It's just a change. No matter which way it went people would be upset/scared/worried, etc because it's change.

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    1. Exactly. Adults could learn something from children, they are so adaptable!

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  14. This is very enlightening for parents. We have to realize that learning isn't just about the lessons in school but also about how our kids will react when they face a certain situation in the future.

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  15. i love the concept of the super hero in the cloud - what a brilliant initiative!

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  16. You are doing such a fantastic job! Your girl is growing up so well :)

    KatrinaJeanCarter.wordpress.com

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  17. What a great way for children to learn. SOLE shows the benefits of using technology in learning.

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  18. Wot that is so awesome ! I am rooting for my little ones to have this kind of curiosity I think its amazing that your little O is so curious <3

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    1. I love that she is so curious, she can ask some really tricky questions too!

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  19. What a good read! You are doing a great job!

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