The traditional view is that children need a formal training process to be able to use technology successfully, but an ad hoc experiment by an Indian physicist might suggest otherwise. Dr Sugata Mitra believes that even poor, illiterate children can teach themselves the basics of computer literacy with the barest minimum of assistance. He describes this as ‘minimally invasive education’, and credits the children’s natural curiosity with allowing them to teach themselves.
Dr Mitra installed a PC with an internet connection in a ‘hole in the wall’, adjacent to one of New Delhi’s poorest slums, and allowed anyone who passed by to play with it. He quickly found that the most frequent users were children aged between 6 and 12, who had only the most basic education and no knowledge of English. Within days, they had taught themselves how to draw and browse the net.
For more information on Dr Mitra’s work, click here.