School in the Cloud Project
Room 13 - School in the Cloud at Greenfield celebrated its first anniversay in February 2015!
An innovative new learning lab has opened at Greenfield Arts.
The lab based at Greenfield Community College is only the third School in the Cloud to be opened anywhere in the world. It is certainly making an impression on the lucky pupils who have been trying it out since it opened in February 2014.
The quirky learning space, fitted out with artificial grass on the floor and surrounding computer consoles, is pioneering a whole new way of learning.
Children are posed questions they don’t know the answer to and have to work in groups – without adult help – and have figured it out using the internet. They are encouraged in their efforts by a ‘granny’ who watches them via Skype.
The new learning space, which will also be used by the community, was launched at a special event on Thursday 13th February 2014 and was attended by visitors including Newcastle University’s Professor Sugata Mitra, the brains behind the project, head teachers, teachers and learning professionals from across the region. Guests could see a session taking place and heard from students who had used it to help them learn more about Animal Farm for their GCSE English lessons.
Katy Milne, Director of Arts and Creativity at Greenfield Arts, said: “We are thrilled to be one in seven 'School in the Cloud' projects across the world. It has been wonderful to see the 6 months of planning and development come together as we launched our project and received such great feedback from so many people including Professor Sugata Mitra. We are very excited to really get started using the new spaces and for our young people, partners and the wider community to explore this innovative way of learning.”
The School in the Cloud was developed by Professor Sugata Mitra, who last year won the $1m TED prize to fund his idea. At the Greenfield launch he held a session where he asked a group of pupils why teardrops are shaped the way they are. The youngsters discovered the answer in 15 minutes.
The School in the Cloud is based upon Professor Mitra’s research which has shown children can learn by themselves if they have access to the internet. His work has also shown that children do better if they are encouraged by a friendly adult – which is why the sessions are conducted with a friendly’ granny’ observing via Skype.
Professor Mitra said: “Our hope is for children to be prepared for the future because they are confident and curious problem solvers who, by tapping into global networks, can work together to use technology and find solutions to ‘big’ questions.”
There will be seven Schools in the Cloud. The first opened in Killingworth, Tyne and Wear last year, while the first Indian site opened earlier this month in New Delhi. Five further sites will be opened in India over coming months.
We have a number of projects, activities and "SOLEs" lessons planned in the space - updates will be posted here and on the School in the Cloud Blog.