Educational researcher Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize. His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another.

Why you should listen

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

The "Hole in the Wall" project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who's now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it "minimally invasive education."

At TED2013, Sugata Mitra made a bold TED Prize wish: Help me build a place where children can explore and learn on their own -- and teach one another -- using resouces from the worldwide cloud.

Download the Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) Toolkit >>

What others say

"Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content. Dr. Mitra's experiments prove that wrong." — Linux Journal

Sugata Mitra’s TED talks

Sugata Mitra on the TED Blog
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TED Prize

What is the TED Prize (and how can you win next year’s)?

March 26, 2014

What do a British chef, a Newcastle University professor and an anti-corruption activist have in common? They’re all winners of the TED Prize – a cash award, currently for $1,000,000, given annually to a forward-thinking individual with a fresh, bold vision for sparking global change to make the world a better place. The Prize begins with […]

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Quotes from Sugata Mitra

Education is a self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon.
Sugata Mitra
TEDGlobal 2010 • 1.8M views Sep 2010
Inspiring, Fascinating
The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.
Sugata Mitra
TED2013 • 1.9M views Feb 2013
Inspiring, Fascinating
It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken — it's not broken, it's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated.
Sugata Mitra
TED2013 • 1.9M views Feb 2013
Inspiring, Fascinating