Professor Mitra came up with the idea of the having witnessed the fact that children searching for answers to questions using his hole-in-the-wall computers were encouraged to push their enquiries further if an older child or passing adult stood at the back, offered praise or just even said something like, He thought of this as the role of the grandmother and wondered whether he could harness the support of people like me, possibly retired and with some spare time to do just that, to play the role of the grandmother. It seemed to offer an opportunity to use the skills I had developed during my working life and the challenge of something new.

Then in March of 2009 a friend passed the Guardian newspaper with an article by a Professor Mitra describing his Hole-in-the-Wall experiments and his ideas about self-organised learning.

He was asking for English grannies with an hour of free time and a broadband connection to read stories to children in India over Skype.

The granny might read to the children or teach them a song, but equally the children may read a story and teach the granny a song!

After some initial shyness there is usually much discussion and laughter, questions and answers on a wide range of topics from both sides.

I have particularly enjoyed working with the disadvantaged rather than the privileged (much of my previous work involved supporting children from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds where having limited English was just one of many problems they faced).

I enjoy the challenge of how to engage, interact with and encourage children via Skype.

I enjoy the challenge of how to overcome the barriers whether they be linguistic, technical or cultural.

Since those early days the project has grown and changed, largely due to the success and recognition of the importance of Professor Mitra’s work. The injection of

I enjoy the challenge of how to engage, interact with and encourage children via Skype.I enjoy the challenge of how to overcome the barriers whether they be linguistic, technical or cultural.Since those early days the project has grown and changed, largely due to the success and recognition of the importance of Professor Mitra’s work. The injection of $1,000,000 into the project has opened up a whole new phase.These adults can also pose them questions which challenge them to find and understand information and ideas.They gain confidence, acquire computer skills, English language skills, social skills and an understanding that the internet opens up an infinite source of knowledge which they are free to access.The level of the children’s English varies from centre to centre and this is obviously a factor in how easily the conversations flow.

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I enjoy the challenge of how to engage, interact with and encourage children via Skype.

I enjoy the challenge of how to overcome the barriers whether they be linguistic, technical or cultural.

Since those early days the project has grown and changed, largely due to the success and recognition of the importance of Professor Mitra’s work. The injection of $1,000,000 into the project has opened up a whole new phase.

These adults can also pose them questions which challenge them to find and understand information and ideas.

They gain confidence, acquire computer skills, English language skills, social skills and an understanding that the internet opens up an infinite source of knowledge which they are free to access.

The level of the children’s English varies from centre to centre and this is obviously a factor in how easily the conversations flow.

||

I enjoy the challenge of how to engage, interact with and encourage children via Skype.

I enjoy the challenge of how to overcome the barriers whether they be linguistic, technical or cultural.

Since those early days the project has grown and changed, largely due to the success and recognition of the importance of Professor Mitra’s work. The injection of $1,000,000 into the project has opened up a whole new phase.

These adults can also pose them questions which challenge them to find and understand information and ideas.

,000,000 into the project has opened up a whole new phase.

These adults can also pose them questions which challenge them to find and understand information and ideas.