A Hole in the Wall

“Within three months of opening up of the Internet kiosk, it was found that the children, mostly from the slum, had achieved a certain level of computer skills without any planned instructional intervention. They were able to browse the Internet, download songs, go to cartoon sites, work on MS Paint. They even invented their own vocabulary to define terms on the computer, for example, “sui” (needle) for the cursor, “channels” for websites and “damru” (Shiva’s drum) for the hourglass (busy) symbol. By the fourth month, the children were able to discover and accomplish tasks like creating folders, cutting and pasting, creating shortcuts, moving/resizing windows and using MS Word to create short messages that too in the absence of keyboard.”

Sugata Mitra, Experiments in New Delhi

Food for thought? We all know that teenagers will teach each other how to use software in Open Access settings – often including workrounds for admin restrictions.

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