…a person who, in 1985, predicted the rise of desktop publishing.

…a person who, in 1988, conceived of hyperlinking software…several years before the World Wide Web debuted.

…a person who sees young people as key engines in their own education.

…a person who won the $1 million TED 2013 Prize to fund his proposal for a technology-driven way to give students access to quality education no matter where in the world they live. (Incidentally, in his model, not all teachers are adults.)

This is clearly a person used to being ahead of his time, but you will soon be able to catch him in the here and now.

We are proud to announce the distinguished closing keynote speaker for BbWorld 2013: Sugata Mitra.

From Hole in the Wall to School in the Cloud, Sugata Mitra has been at the forefront of education technology for decades. Born in India, he is currently Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England.

In a New Delhi slum in 1999, Mitra and his colleagues set up a computer literally within a hole in the wall. Via hidden camera, they observed that local children were not only learning how to go online on their own but also showing one another how to do so. This now-landmark experiment inspired numerous similar projects and also the novel that was the basis for the Academy Award 2009 Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire.

Mitra has earned multiple edtech patents and awards, notably the 2013 TED Prize. At BbWorld, he will expand on his TED proposal to build a school in the cloud so no matter where they live or how impoverished they are, children will have access to quality education—from both teachers and fellow students. His Hole in the Wall study affirmed that children have a natural and powerful curiosity that enables them to teach themselves fundamentals of computing and the Internet without formal instruction. He calls this “minimally invasive education.”

As Mitra envisions it, the school in the cloud will be a computer lab through which children ages 8 to 12 will be able to freely investigate their world. The lab will be based India and the number of employees on hand will be…one. All other adults will be a global volunteer network of retired teachers who will interact with students by Skype. Mitra calls this a Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE).

“My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together,” Mitra said.

To hear TED 2013 prize winner Sugata Mitra’s inspiring talk live, register now for BbWorld 2013.

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