Teaching or Learning? The first computer kiosk was set up in 1999 in Kalkaji slum in New Delhi, India.

For a number of years Dr Gupta then Director of research at the Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems, had been thinking about how computer-based education could serve India¶s poor. He had a hunch that poor children with little education could teach themselves the basics of computer literacy and in doing so open a window to knowledge about the world. To test his idea he embedded a computer with a high-speed internet connection into a wall (hence, often referred to as µhole in the wall¶) that divided the Institute where he and his team worked from a slum area, strewn with rubbish and used by local street kids. He left the computer on, monitored its use remotely and installed a video camera in a nearby tree to watch what happened. What he watched was the ways in which the slum children who hung around in car park intuitively picked up the skills they needed to use the machine. They self-organised and began teaching themselves what they needed to know with unending curiosity and thirst for knowledge. The fact that the programmes they discovered were all in English was not a problem: they learned the English they needed and even substituted their own words for icons (such as the hourglass that indicates some kind of loading process is taking place) when no words were indicated. Within a few days the children who were mostly aged 6-10 and who did not attend school, had learned how to browse the Web, play games, create documents and paint pictures See http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2000/oct/17/itforschools.Schools5; http://www.greenstar.org/butterflies/Hole-in-the-Wall.htm http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/india/kids.Html;. For any parent with children of the same age this would not now appear such a surprising result. Children seem to µtake to¶

Businessweek Online 2000) This concept of µminimal intervention¶ suggests that children can actually teach themselves many of the things that teachers normally assume is their job to teach. I'm saying that. you can multiply the effectiveness of 10 teachers by 100 . It is not surprising that he was awarded the Best Social Innovation of 2000 by the British Institute for Social Inventions nor that the ideas behind his experiment have spread. (Mitra.. However the implications of this social experiment are much more suggestive given its context. is a powerful message.. . This is a system of education where you assume that children know how to put two and two together on their own. So you stand aside and intervene only if you see them going in a direction that might lead into a blind alley. receptive activities that dominate formal schooling (Dangwal & Kapur. That education can improve where there are fewer teachers.unesco. Much of it shows that children learn more through interaction with others.uis. That's just so that you don't waste time. particularly their peers.Org/ . in situations where we cannot intervene very frequently..fold if you give children access to the Internet. Research into hole-inthe-wall computers. The social implications of this are staggering in a world where. Gupta¶s µHole in the Wall¶ is suggestive of the kind of radical transformation that the use of technology could bring to education. Self-directed learning replaces teacher-centric education and frees a teacher¶s time to support pupils in more individual. 2009). despite commitments to universal primary education. some 68 million primary-school-age children are currently not enrolled http://www. now referred to as µMinimally Invasive Education Learning Stations¶ has continued throughout the past ten years and now centres on the ways in which the emergence and development of group social processes aids individual learning. than in the more passive...or 1.000 .computers in ways that continue to surprise older generations. not more. personalised ways.

Mitra suggested. Their task is to encourage and praise the achievements of the youngsters they interact with. It's a coaching and feedback mechanism that integrates with the youngster's schooling and which is designed to provide a boost to learning. Mitra further fine-tuned his experiments in Gateshead where he worked with 32 children and asked them to work in groups of four using one computer per group. Mitra tested the students with an paper-based exam two months later in which no computers nor collaboration was allowed. In order to test the hypothesis that no deep learning had taken place during the task. They used everything they could including Google.On one trip to a hole in the wall computer in India. . the initiative is known after its method 'The Granny Cloud'. I couldn't have done that at your age'. He calculated that they achieved 25% more with this positive praise/feedback. Mitra took the experiment a step further by asking a young girl to stand behind a group working on the computer and praise what they were doing. The average score achieved was 76%. Wikipedia. Whilst not all of the volunteers are grannies. The idea of showing off your abilities to an empathetic other. The classroom teacher of the groups Mitra was working with was suspicious that what the children had achieved was fingertip knowledge. was like demonstrating your skills to your Grannie and your Grannie responding. The quickest group answered the questions in twenty minutes and the slowest in forty-five. He then gave the groups six GCSE questions to answer. and Ask Jeeves. 'that's amazing. discovering information which would subsequently be lost. They could change groups. They scored 76%. wander between groups and even peer over the shoulder at a group¶s work and take it back to their group and claim it as theirs. That insight led to the recruitment of over 200 volunteers in the UK who connect once a week to schools in India via Skype. Newsgroups.

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