Thursday, October 05, 2006

There's much more behind the link. Go!

The "Hole-in-the-Wall" Experiment - Wherein a bunch of non-English-speaking nigh-illiterate Indian slum kids figure out the Internet from scratch.

To test his ideas, Mitra 13 months ago launched something he calls "the hole in the wall experiment." He took a PC connected to a high-speed data connection and imbedded it in a concrete wall next to NIIT's headquarters in the south end of New Delhi. The wall separates the company's grounds from a garbage-strewn empty lot used by the poor as a public bathroom. Mitra simply left the computer on, connected to the Internet, and allowed any passerby to play with it. He monitored activity on the PC using a remote computer and a video camera mounted in a nearby tree.

What he discovered was that the most avid users of the machine were ghetto kids aged 6 to 12, most of whom have only the most rudimentary education and little knowledge of English. Yet within days, the kids had taught themselves to draw on the computer and to browse the Net. Some of the other things they learned, Mitra says, astonished him.

Wet-concrete brains. We need drugs for this.

via Ran Prieur, who is second only to Russian websites in having the bestest stuff.


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