A year into his School in the Cloud documentary, Jerry Rothwell shares the highs and lows of watching students teach themselves

Natasha Scripture:

British director Jerry Rothwell, the winner of the first annual Sundance Institute | TED Prize Filmmaker Award, has spent the past year trailing TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra as he sets up the first locations of the School in the Cloud. Traveling between a remote village in India and a forward-thinking elementary school in the U.K., Rothwell has watched Mitra, a Newcastle University professor, plant the seeds of his global education experiment that lets children learn on their own, and from each other, by tapping into online resources and their inner sense of wonder.

The subject matter of School in the Cloud is definitely different from Rothwell’s previous films, which include Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; Town of Runners, about an Ethiopian village famed for its athletes; and Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band. But Rothwell says he has long been interested in education and technology, so was up for this challenge.

School in the Cloud is slated for release in April 2015. Now that Rothwell is halfway through the project, we thought we’d check in with him to see how it’s going …