We use Skype at work, to catch up with friends, and to say goodnight to loved ones. But could it be used for greater good? One man, a professor of education technology at UK’s Newcastle University named Sugata Mitra, whose work inspired the film “Slumdog Millionaire,” decided he could use Skype to improve literacy and education around the globe.
On a trip to India a few years ago, Mitra asked a group of Indian children what they would like to use Skype for. “Surprisingly, they said they wanted British grandmothers to read them fairytales — they’d even worked out that between them they could afford to pay GBP 1 a week out of their own money,” Mitra told the Guardian in a report last year.
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Mitra then began to search for volunteers. About 200 story telling Grannies responded. “Many are retired teachers, who are now regularly on Skype teaching children in the slums,” Mitra explained.
The project, called “Sole and Somes” or referred to as ““Granny Cloud” is now underway and has evolved from storytelling to the volunteers working as educational mentors. The mentors are available on Skype for about an hour a week and the sessions, involving conversations, story-telling and singing are led by a mediator. To become involved and learn more, check out Sole and Somes online.