In my previous post, I wrote about Prof Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall experiment. Here’s the incredible continuation…
SOLES and SOMES is an amazing project in which educators from all over the world are contributing their time, over skype, to help underprivileged children in India to learn!
I am quoting the following straight from their wiki…
“The work before SOLE & SOME:
Sugata Mitra’s earlier work through the Hole in the Wall experiments, showed that groups of children, given shared digital resources can learn to use computers and the Internet and go on to learn almost anything on their own that they have an interest in. They do not seem to require adult supervision.
In the last three years, we have created 12 Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) in addition to the several hundred ‘hole in the wall’ computers that exist in India, Cambodia and several African countries.
There exists a cloud of mediators that have begun to interact with these SOLEs. The cloud is self organised and called a Self Organised Mediation Environment (SOME). The mediators interact with the children over Skype.
The SOLE Facility:
Currently, Project SOLE is up and running in 10 locations in India [with an 11th one due to start any day now!], mostly in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh [one is in a rural area of Maharashtra].
Typically, a SOLE is a ‘room’ located in the school premises clearly visible to all those who pass [that’s the reason we use huge glass windows!]. In the process we ensure a transparency that facilitates children’s safety as well as unobtrusive monitoring of the activities inside the SOLE.
There are usually 9 computers in clusters of 3 [although we are experimenting with other arrangements] which facilitates the children’s interaction across computer terminals as well within their group. A key factor is that there are usually 4 children per computer working or playing together, you will often find many more gathered behind, standing around watching what’s going on.
It seems, from your response, that there are a very large number of people in the world willing to give a little of their time and be ‘mentors’ for children who need it. Imagine a world where thousands of such mentors / mediators are available to a child over the Internet. Not a typed or texted presence, but a real face-to-face conversational presence. A world where the children interact with who they wish – for entertainment, for help with work, for emotional support, or just for a chat.
This is the group of SOME volunteers that is emerging – a group of people who would make themselves available over Skype for, say, one hour a week. We would then schedule ‘sessions’ with schools in India, to start with, when a ‘mediator’ will interact with a group of children. This could involve reading stories, conversing, singing and all those things friendly people do with children.”
What an inspirational project! I am filling in the volunteer form right now. Does anyone want to join me?