The ‘granny cloud’: the network of volunteers helping poorer children learn

Aug 3, 2015 by

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At the School in the Cloud, volunteer ‘grannies’ use Skype to help some of the world’s poorest children teach themselves. Could mainstream education learn from them?

Every week Lorraine Schneiter, a former Open University tutor, sits down in front of her computer, opens up Skype, and calls a group of children in India. And then they chat.

What about? “It depends on them. I have some suggestions up my sleeve but I always try to wait and see what they want to talk about. And then I’m always trying to make sure it’s relevant to their lives. I don’t like the idea of us zooming in from the west and trying to wave some wand over Indian children.”

Lorraine is 53 and has been running the Skype sessions for the last three years as a member of the “granny cloud” – a hundred of so people who have volunteered to talk to, read with, question and encourage schoolchildren via Skype.

Not all the grannies are grannies – Lorraine has only recently become an actual grandmother – and they’re not necessarily women or any particular age, but Suneeta Kulkarni, the research director of the project, tells me that they’ve never been able to shake the name. “We called it something like ‘self-organised mediation environment’ but we’ve given up. It never stuck. It is the granny cloud now.”

Source: The ‘granny cloud’: the network of volunteers helping poorer children learn | Education | The Guardian

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