It’s always very exciting to see and hear of some of the innovative ideas out there in the world of education, particularly when it involves reaching out to deprived areas.
I found this amazing video cast by Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. Watch his presentation of findings from “The Hole in the Wall” experiments here:
The Hole in the Wall experiments were first implemented in 1999, when a computer with an internet connection was embedded into a wall, for children to discover and use unsupervised. The wall adjoined a slum; and only a month later, it was evident that the children had taught themselves to use the computer and also picked up some skills in English and Mathematics. This kind of design was then set up in more and more remote areas across India with almost identical results. These were computers embedded in walls or kiosks in easily accessible and highly visible public spaces, facilitating peer interaction, discovery and learning in groups of children.
We concluded that groups of children from disadvantaged and remote settings can learn to use computers and access internet resources, on their own, if given appropriate free, public and unsupervised access. They then use these resources to search for answers.
Later we found that children in groups can teach themselves – everything!
If you don’t already know about TED talks, it’s a small non-profit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It has a myriad of video-casts and podcasts from the worlds foremost thinkers and scientists on all sorts of subjects (www.ted.com).