Musings of a Male Granny: This Retired Schoolteacher Spends His Free Time Skyping With Indian Schoolkids

The School in the Cloud and its Skype Grannies. This is an essential view into the evolution of both local and global education as technology becomes a main vehicle for its delivery.

“Within this, children need to be allowed to take more charge of their learning, with the teacher acting in a more supporting role. Letting go, allowing this to happen, is a big challenge for teachers, as there is security when you are setting out the agenda. But really, this approach doesn’t take anything away from the role of the teacher. We will continue to be instrumental in setting up these learning situations.”

Definite points awarded for accessibility of education and self-organized learning, but we can never truly rely on anything but a great teacher to support solid learning. Recent research out of MIT suggests that “[t]hese technology-enabled projects allowed professors to efficiently apply a range of evidence-based techniques in classrooms, leading to substantially improved student outcomes.”

What are your thoughts on online education? Have you participated in a MOOC? Would you be interested in being a Skype Granny? Why or Why not?

TED Blog

Kids at TK school gather around as David TK leads them in a clas.. Kids at a school in India gather around a computer as David Swancott leads a School in the Cloud session.

David Swancott is a retired biology teacher who lives an hour southeast of Bordeaux, France. He spends his free time bicycling, traveling and, for the past two years, being a “Skype Granny.” Swancott is a part of the “Granny Cloud,” a project created by 2013 TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra to make teachers available online to mentor children participating in his School in the Cloud. As children explore the big questions that matter to them, they get nudges in the right direction from a Skype Granny. But don’t let the name fool you. While many Granny Cloud participants are female and retired, just as many are male or in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Now that the school year is underway, we checked in with one of our male grannies to ask about his experience mentoring kids through…

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