Sugata Mitra Documentary Has Its World Premiere


There’s so much diversity when it comes to schooling. We have schools in cities and villages, in classrooms, in homes, under trees, in boats. But what about a school in the cloud?

School in the Cloud is the brainchild of Sugata Mitra, TED Prize Winner, Professor in Educational Technology at Newcastle University and educational innovator whose ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment in New Delhi recognized the potential for self-organized learning and led to the creation of SOLEs around the world.

School in the Cloud is an approach that harnesses the potential of the internet and the power of self learning to help level the playing field between high and low income countries and help quality education to reach the places that most need it.

The School in the Cloud involves children receiving big, child-focused questions. The learners then go on a quest for knowledge, powered by the internet and collaborative group work. Freedom to explore allows children’s natural curiosity to flourish. But that doesn’t mean a lack of teachers. Far from it, the learners are supported by educators from all walks of life, whether it’s parents and teachers or even special online mentors, nicknamed 'Skype Grannies'! 

Luckily for educators around the world, the experience has been captured on film. The eponymous documentary, directed by award-winning director Jerry Rothwell, premiered today, Tuesday 20th March, at CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen.

The documentary follows Professor Mitra in his 3 year journey to establish his School in the Cloud in India, where many children have never used a computer, and in England, where learners are already digital natives. The film allows audiences to witness how self learning changes the game for both sets of students, opening up possibilities for education around the world.

Director Jerry Rothwell explained how the School in the Cloud approach offers children something fundamentally new.

“In the UK children use technology every day but using the computer in groups to research a big question got them talking and thinking critically about the information they found. In Korakati, where children had never seen a computer, the lack of experience wasn’t a barrier. They quickly became confident to follow their interests, ranging from information about chemistry to online DJing.”

Professor Mitra himself is pleased with the documentary, saying “when I saw the final draft, I was very impressed. Jerry’s film is factual, concise and emotive at the same time. It is a story of hope and I am lucky to be a part of it.”

School in the Cloud premiered at the CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen on Tuesday March 20th. The film is set for cinematic release in the UK later this year.