Posted by Elena Martin.
Sugatra Mitra installed a computer in a hole in a wall on a street in Kaljaki, New Delhi to see how effectively children could teach themselves technology as part of what would become his Hole-in-the-Wall Project. The computer had a cover to protect it from the elements, an opening for the kids’ hands to reach the keyboard, cable internet, and a webcam to track the progress.
Left alone and with no incentives or instruction, over three hundred children were able to go from never having touched a computer to tech whizzes. With these initial results, Mitra expanded the project to 23 more sites and was able to show that children across India were able to reach technological literacy at the same rate, independent of their location or economic status. Mitra proved that kids are information sponges, much more apt to keep up with technological changes than older generations, and that the only barrier to technological insertion for most kids is simply a lack of access.
More on the idealist website
Mind you, beware of people who believe technological insertion is a good thing per se… reminds me of the ARPA report to congress in 1972: “the long-sought goal is direct and intimate coupling between man and the computer.”