Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra

role of technology in education, remote presence, self-organised learning environments, cognitive science
Professor Emeritus at NIIT University Rajasthan, formerly Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University UK
more than 25 inventions in the area of cognitive science and educațional technology, the „Hole in the Wall” project, „Schools in the Cloud” laboratories

About Sugata Mitra

Prof. Sugata Mitra is one of the world’s most respected education researchers and pioneer in self-directed learning. He is Professor Emeritus at NIIT University Rajasthan India, has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, and he retired in 2019 as Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, UK.

His interests include Children’s Education, Remote Learning, Self- organising systems, Cognitive Systems, Complex Dynamical Systems, Physics and Consciousness.

He conducted the Hole in the Wall (HIW) experiment, where in the year 1999 a computer was embedded within a wall in an Indian slum at Kalkaji, Delhi and children were allowed to freely use it. The experiment aimed at proving that kids could be taught computers very easily without any formal training. Sugata termed this as Minimally Invasive Education (MIE). The experiment has since been repeated at many places. He is the recipient of many awards and honorary doctorates from India, the UK, USA and many other countries in the world.

The Hole in the Wall experiment has left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra’s experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel that went on to become the Oscar winning movie of 2009 – Slumdog Millionaire.

He is credited with more than 25 inventions in the area of cognitive science and educational technology. He was conferred the prestigious Dewang Mehta Award from the Government of India for Innovation in Information Technology in the year 2003. Amongst many other awards, he was awarded the 1-million-dollar TED Prize in 2013.

Professor Mitra’s work at NIIT created the first curricula and pedagogy for that organisation, followed by years of research on learning styles, learning devices, several of them now patented, multimedia and new methods of learning. Culminating and, perhaps, towering over his previous work, are his “hole in the wall” experiments with children’s learning. Since 1999, he has convincingly demonstrated that groups of children, irrespective of who or where they are, can learn to use computers and the Internet on their own using public computers in open spaces such as roads and playgrounds. He brought these results to England in 2006 and invented Self Organised Learning Environments, now in use throughout the world. In 2009, he created the Granny Cloud, of teachers who interact with children over the Internet.

Since the 1970s, Professor Mitra’s publications and work has resulted in training and development of perhaps a million young Indians, amongst them some of the poorest children in the world.

In 2013, he was awarded the first $1 million TED prize, to put his educational ideas together to create seven laboratories called ‘Schools in the Cloud’. Here he studied learning as emergent phenomena in an educational self-organising system. These results question the ideas of curriculum, examinations and the meaning of ‘knowing’ itself in the Internet world of the 21st century.

He was named the 2022 Brock Prize in Education Innovation Laureate for his transformational work in rethinking the way children learn.