[Air-l] Fwd: [school-discuss] Self Organising Systems for mass education
radhika at cyberdiva.org
Sun Sep 10 06:45:29 PDT 2006
Such projects are always written up with a great deal of celebration.
I have seen other reports of the hole in the wall project - and
needless to say it looks interesting and wonderful when taken fully
out of context.
Of course the utility of computer literacy for a particular kind of
global world (with it colonizing undertones) is
unquestionable.Somewhat like "learning English" was in previous
decades (still is) in the so-called "developing world"....
but is just "computer access" the goal?
what does it mean to be computer literate in specific contexts?
What is context in this case?
>Here's an interesting set of ideas that might go against some of my
>assumptions in regard to the OLPC project from MIT. However, I am
>not so sure about the results just yet.
>Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Knut Yrvin <knuty at skolelinux.no>
>> Date: September 10, 2006 3:45:56 AM EDT
>> To: schoolforge-discuss at schoolforge.net
>> Subject: [school-discuss] Self Organising Systems for mass education
>> Reply-To: schoolforge-discuss at schoolforge.net
>> By Sugata Mitra, Dean of Research at The NIIT Institute and Chief
>> Scientist at NIIT Limited
>> * An extract:
>> The "Hole in the wall" experiments
>> Groups of children can learn to use computers on their own,
>> of who or where they are.
>> Groups of children, given access to shared, publicly accessible
>> computers in playgrounds and other public areas, will teach themselves
>> to use the technology on their own.
>> The original "hole in the wall", January 1999, Kalkaji, New Delhi,
>> We found this through a set of experiments conducted from 1999 onwards
>> and often referred to as the "Hole-in-the-wall" experiments.
>> We found that children given unsupervised access to computers in
>> or play areas would become:
>> 1. Computer literate - in their own way, with their own
>> vocabulary, but highly effective nevertheless.
>> 2. Better at math and English - I don't know why, maybe
>> because they learn to analyze and solve problems in groups.
>> 3. More social and cooperative - because they learn
>> that knowledge, unlike material objects, grows with sharing.
>> 4. More interested in school - if the computer is near
>> or in the school premises.
>> 5. Less likely to drop out of school - because they
>> want their computer.
>> 6. Less interested in petty crime - mostly because all
>> their free time is spent at the computer.
>> 7. Generate local goodwill - parents like the idea that
>> the child is learning something and not creating trouble at
>> It took us five years of rigorous measurements across the Indian
>> subcontinent to verify these results amongst 40,000 of the world's
>> poorest children. Almost half of them, girls.
>> The data based outcomes showed:
>> * Acquisition of functional computer literacy
>> * Improvement in academic performance
>> * Increase in confidence and self-esteem
>> * Increased collaborative behavior
>> Apart from data-based findings, there is consistent anecdotal evidence
>> of large-scale impact on school enrollment, retention, concentration,
>> attention span and problem-solving ability.
>> To keep computers working in, mostly, outdoor environments, we had to
>> design several pieces of hardware and software. In five years a design
>> emerged that is reliable and low on maintenance. The design is
>> resistant to vandalism and undesirable adult access. Interestingly,
>> both vandalism and adult access is automatically low in public places
>> where children are present. We were also able to design software to
>> remotely monitor all activity at these "playground" computers.
>> We found much more effective use of the computers already owned by
>> schools-200 children can become computer literate using one playground
>> computer-making it an effective and affordable method.
>> Without adult intervention or supervision, 40,000 village children
>> experimented with computers and software to acquire an enduring
>> understanding of the information age.
>> The news article:
>> The scientific articles:
>> Best regards
>> Knut Yrvin
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