Tag Archives: internet

Revisiting The School In The Clouds.

Sugata MitraI was really inspired last year when I saw Sugata Mitra give a Ted talk on his vision for the future of education, so for those of you who missed it here it is again. I’ve added some photos so this new improved version looks much better than the original although the wonderful message remains no matter how you dress it up.

Time to take a break from my intense inner journeys and to go on a magical tour to the future, in this particular instance, the future of education. Like many other areas of knowledge in our society, medicine, the production of energy, education is well and truly behind what is known about the capacity of human beings. In fact Sugata Mitra says that schools as we know them are obsolete, they are no longer preparing children for the world that they will actually go out and meet.

future robot

He traces the origins of our current system, which came from the British Empire, and which aimed to create a workforce of identical drones who would be able to run the bureaucratic machine that they used to keep their empire together and running efficiently. It was also a world where people might have to be able to do their jobs, for example soldiers, under enormous threat, and so they received punishment and did examinations where they would come up with the answers under adverse conditions. But in that situation the brain shuts down the learning centres, by shifting the emphasis to encouragement, that is pleasure, much more learning can occur.

Paining by Don Troiani.

Sugata Mitra advocates children teaching each other and he has done numerous experiments that clearly show that this can produce amazing results, give the kids big questions, broadband, and a Granny figure to offer encouragement, and there seems to be no limit to what can be achieved! He postulates the challenging notion that knowing may also be obsolete, as we can often now find out things at the touch of a keypad, and find out whatever we need to know in a matter of minutes.

This is such exciting and inspiring information, no wonder the current empires represented by the big corporations such as the fossil fuel and pharmacological industries, are trying so hard to hang on to what they have. They understand that they are only just managing to keep a lid on human potential, and that sooner or later the lid is going to pop off and their stranglehold on our culture will be over. One could wish they would give in gracefully, but it doesn’t seem likely at the moment.


Perhaps one of the new generation of children who are learning at the School in the Cloud, will work out how to dismantle the whole sorry mess without creating a lot of misery and suffering for the population. When you have watched this talk by Sugata Mitra you will understand why I am so hopeful, the examples that he gives are literally mind-boggling, I cried, in a good way!

“Schools as we know them are obsolete” says Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher and the winner of the 2013 TED Prize.
His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another.
This presentation turns our idea of education on its head. See his revolutionary pedagogical method in action here, where learning happens “by itself”:

Collaborative Consumption.

The changes that technology has brought to our culture are mind-boggling to say the least, children growing up now have a totally different way of viewing the world to their parents, and are about as far away from their grandparents conceptually as the milky way is from the earth! We are going through a revolution of sorts and it is our ability to connect and to gather information in minutes that is fueling this new direction, which funnily enough, isn’t so new after all.

Before we all became consumers, people used to trade goods and services, money often wasn’t even a part of the equation, you would trade away your surplus for the things you couldn’t provide for yourself. With the growth of social media there has been a huge return to the barter system and it is happening on a much larger scale than would previously have been possible. I had no idea there was so much of this stuff going on, it’s called swap trading and you can trade just about anything. You may also have heard of a kind of car pooling in cities where you pay a monthly fee in order to have access to a car when you need it, with companies such as Go Get.


So the qualities that humanity needs to develop in order to survive on this planet are actually evolving as we move from being passive consumers to what Rachel Botsman describes as highly enabled collaborators. In this TED talk she speaks about collaborative consumption and how there is a renewal of the importance of community and of trust that is arising in the new virtual world.

The internet is enabling sharing of goods at an unprecedented rate.  It’s a global phenomenon that cuts out the middleman and is gaining traction all the time.
There are fascinating points and insights in this video, for ex. how trust will be measured. It’s no longer your credit score. But more importantly, it might help you rethink things you think you “need”.
You don’t always need ownership — you need access.

Generation Of Hope.

Just for a change of pace, I’d like to share with you an inspirational video that gives me great hope for humanity, these young people look to me like future humans, I wish I had my act together the way they do! And apparently more than 50% of the world’s population is under 25, so they also carry the weight of numbers. There seem to be a few different names for this generation, but I’ve known them as Generation Y, one of the speakers in this film speculates that it may represent the fact that it is the generation that is facing a real fork in the road for the future.

And that’s the most important story on the planet is it not? Whatever else we may do with ourselves as a people, we require an environment to do it in that will support us, the number of people who are waking up to this is so exciting. I got really excited about the Occupy Wall Street movement when it started, since then there has been Occupy Earth and a movie has come out called Occupy Love, haven’t seen it yet but planning on buying the dvd and showing it in my community.


I shared a house with a couple of young men who were Generation Y and was impressed with their ability to decide what they wanted, and to then plan on how to get there, none of the dithering and self-sabotage I seem to have specialised in! Of course there are those in every age group who are still asleep, but we don’t need everyone to be awake for this to work, and in the new world we will create, it will be a lot easier for those of us with more trauma to focus on our healing.

These kids are the internet generation too, and with the ability to connect instantly, the possiblity of change happening really quickly becomes much more likely. The Golden Age can’t come soon enough for me, bring it on my young friends, you are the people we’ve been waiting for!

It’s perhaps the best of times and
the worst of times, but there is
no time for distractions anymore.

Here’s a video with dozens of young
voices expressing how they feel about
their influence and potential impact
at this turning point in history.

“We are writing a different story than
the one we have been led to believe is
inevitable.”  says one young woman proudly.

Video: (9:28)