TED Prize awarded to Newcastle professor

A professor of educational technology at Newcastle University has won a $1 million (£660,000) prize for his work teaching children from India’s slums how to use the internet

February 27, 2013

Source: Campus Party Brasil

Sugata Mitra picked up the TED Prize, which is awarded by the California-based not-for-profit ideas network TED.

He follows previous winners including Bill Clinton, Jamie Oliver and Bono.

In 1999 professor Mitra pioneered an experiment called “the hole in the wall” which allowed Indian street children to use computers that were left accessible in public walls.

“During the next five years, in the course of many experiments, I learned that groups of children can complete educational objectives by themselves, using the internet, if you leave them alone,” he said.

He won the prize for submitting a “wish” that the TED network help him build an online “School in the Cloud” in India, “where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online”.

“My ‘wish that can inspire the world’ will enable me to further this work by involving partners across the TED network which extends across the globe. If this works, we will have an alternative system that will level the playing field,” he said.

Professor Mitra said that he would use the money to help build the school.

Chris Brink, Newcastle’s vice-chancellor, said: “This is a tremendous honour for Sugata. He has dedicated over 20 years of his research career into improving the lives and opportunities of some of the world’s poorest people through his innovations in computing.”

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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