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Education

Web-Surfing Indian Slum Kids Ask: "What's a Computer" 430

Posted by chrisd
from the teach-a-man-to-fish dept.
chaoticset writes "An experiment in minimally directed self-learning has been going fairly well, from the article: To test his ideas, Sugata Mitra launched something 13 months ago 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 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." Update: 04/17 22:23 GMT by M : Mitra has a website about his experiments.
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Web-Surfing Indian Slum Kids Ask: "What's a Computer"

Comments Filter:
  • draw on it? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:06PM (#3363085)
    Like with photoshop? Or with a can of spray paint?
  • License (Score:4, Funny)

    by QuodEratDemonstratum (569501) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:08PM (#3363090) Homepage
    It's running Windows [niitholeinthewall.com]. I hope that slum has a license.
  • whoa (Score:2, Funny)

    by AnimeFreak (223792) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:09PM (#3363097) Homepage
    Shouldn't you call them "Natives" instead of "Indians?"

    Political correctness. :)
  • WTF (Score:2, Funny)

    by wo1verin3 (473094) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:09PM (#3363099) Homepage
    now i have to move to new delhi for a high speed uncapped connection...grrr
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:10PM (#3363103)
    I'm picturing a ghetto kid, shoeless, standing in front of this magical screen embedded in a dingy concrete wall, and saying:
    Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these...
  • Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by flacco (324089) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:10PM (#3363104)
    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.

    Yet our organization still has full-grown, western-educated employees who hold the fucking mouse upside-down.

  • Re:License (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:12PM (#3363115)
    How right you are. he should have used a Linux distro. That way, they'd be developing their very first computer skills on a system whose UI is so tedious, they'd go back to eating rotten garbage and end their existence, and their burden on this fragile world, all the much quicker. I applaud your foresight, sir.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:14PM (#3363129) Journal
    Imagine a Bhagavad-Gita cluster of these!
  • Funny... (Score:5, Funny)

    by KingJawa (65904) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:16PM (#3363141) Homepage
    We're amazed that a bunch of kids in India can use the web, but have no trouble believing that a survivor of war-torn Afghanistan can (a) get a Commodore on the 'net and (b) emails Jon Katz when he does.
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:18PM (#3363151)
    Dude, it's called a trackball.
  • by cosyne (324176) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:20PM (#3363156) Homepage
    Did anyone else read the title on this and think they'd accidentally gone to The Onion [theonion.com] instead of slashdot?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:20PM (#3363160)
    The computers used for the kiosks are all Pentium PCs with color monitors and multimedia support. The operating system is Windows(TM) (9x/NT) and the Internet browser is MS Internet Explorer(TM).

    "...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."

    How long did it take them to learn how to install the Critical Update of the Day?

    How long to learn how to h4x0r an unpatched IIS server they came across while surfing?

    How long to discover and start trolling on /.?

    How long to discover Usenet and make their first "Me too!" post?
  • Hello? (Score:5, Funny)

    by anotherone (132088) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:21PM (#3363161)
    Hello?


    I am pooosting from a box in a wall.


    Have you seen this "All your base are belong to us" movie?

  • by nizo (81281) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:24PM (#3363174) Homepage Journal
    before they are writing Outlook Express viruses and hacking into bank accounts??

    Day 386, I came in and found a dozen chocolate roses with a note for me from the kids, paid for with some poor American slob's credit card.
  • by rob-fu (564277) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:26PM (#3363180)
    they're all lined up waiting to write some java.
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Macrobat (318224) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:55PM (#3363269)
    Well, how do you say slashdotted in Christian? or Jew?
    I'm not sure how you say it in Hebrew, but I believe the KJV has a passage about "my bandwidth floweth over."
  • by drDugan (219551) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @11:55PM (#3363271) Homepage
    I wish there was an easy way to send that message to companies every time I delete my cookies.
  • by cscx (541332) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:09AM (#3363316) Homepage
    Well, considering they are from a slum, I'd assume they'd use The PIMP. Kinda like The GIMP, but, unlike Wilber, he isn't furry, he just wears a furry hat...
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by flacco (324089) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:49AM (#3363426)
    Dude, it's called a trackball.

    (ha ha haaa...!)

    It took me three reads to get this; maybe I shouldn't be so critical of our users :-)

  • by jellybear (96058) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:03AM (#3363664)
    Never mind the review board. I say: Just put in a clickthru agreement. This is cyberspace, after all.
  • by shogun (657) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @03:51AM (#3363951)
    I'm really seriously scared about what would happen if suddenly the whole wide world had access to these kids.

    I imagine they would just suddenly have a lot of people trying to sell them printer toner, university diplomas or penis enlargers.
  • by saihung (19097) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @03:57AM (#3363969)
    where a couple of years ago, my next door neighbor decided to throw away his entire old Mac setup, including the monitor, modem, keyboard, mouse, and all of the cables. Everything worked - I grabbed it when I got home. The local kids' response? To spraypaint black graffitti on the monitor. No one thought to take it and play with it, and I'm pretty sure that it this neighborhood computer ownership was pretty low.
  • by gakguk (530867) <gokhan&altinoren,com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @04:38AM (#3364058) Homepage
    Hello.

    But what is a computer?

    Regards.

    Little fella.
  • by OpenSourcerer (515213) <`hashim' `at' `haafiz.org'> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @06:18AM (#3364252) Homepage
    Considering it is india,
    it will be a Beowulf cluster of KIDS imagining a Beowulf cluster of these!
  • by TechnoVooDooDaddy (470187) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @09:13AM (#3364660) Homepage
    which would show that our education system is very unefficient...

    heh, no kidding...
  • by cascadefx (174894) <morlockhq@nosPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @10:48AM (#3365139) Journal
    Are you getting tired of being baited by trolls? Think that trolls have nothing to offer to the slashdot community? Well I propose we change that. Let's make a game where posts that are modified to troll -1 are then turned into a Troll Libs.

    "What's a Troll Libs?" you ask. Well, I propose that a Troll Libs is a troll -1 post that has been reposted with a lot of the offensive material replaced by blanks to be filled in, in follow up posts, with words and phrases asked for at the end of the blank (in parentheses).

    This idea is to do something along the lines of that classic pencil and paper amusement Mad Libs [madlibs.org].

    As an example, I will post the first one, based on the troll -1 above. Here is the Troll Libs text:

    It reminds me of the time I
    (verb, past tense) your (adjective) (noun) (nationality) (noun) in (pronoun) turtle-loving (something you own). Notice how I said " (adjective) (Nationality)". I don't deal with these (adjective) (sports team name). Those (noun, plural) are just (adjective). Anyway, no one is (adverb, ending in -ing) forcing (verb, ending in -ing) on the (noun, plural). You are obviously a (adjective) (noun) who didn't (verb, past tense) the (adjective) (verb), you (adjective) (noun) . The (adjective) (noun, plural) weren't (verb, past tense) (relative location, i.e. on top, behind) of the (verb) and (verb, past tense) they had to (verb) it. Like all (adjective) (noun, plural), who should be (verb, past tense), they chose to (verb, past tense) other (noun, posessive) (noun) without any (noun). You are a ( (verb, past tense)) (noun) for not (verb, past tense) some (adjective) (skill). Perhaps you should go back to (Location) and (verb, past tense) (noun) with (noun, plural) who have (noun) you (adjective) (noun). (verb) (noun). (verb) (noun) a million times until (noun) (verb) (noun). When (a possesion) (verb, past tense), I will (verb) (a posession) (that (verb) (noun)) to (verb) and (verb). Hey, how's your dad? Still a (prestigious occupation)? That's what I thought. You (activity) from the metaphorical (location) of my (descriptive adjective about size) (body part) . Take that (Name of a Sidekick)! And next time you try to be (adjective) and show that you've (adjective) a (noun), don't choose a (repeat previous noun) that is (desciptive adjective) you (Occupation)! You're a (adverb) (verb, ending in -ing) (Occupation) if you think (Currency) has any worth. All of you (adjective) (group affiliation, i.e. Shriners, Masons, etc.) (noun, plural) think that (literature genre) has some sort of place in the realms of literature. You're (statement of fact). It's (adjective) (noun) for the (Famous family name, plural) who think they want to (verb) the (location), but can't, so settle for (verb, ending in -ing) (garden implement) and/or taking it to the (Customer Service Oriented Business). That is some (adjective) (noun) right there, (Occupational Title). I want to (verb) you the (celestial object), you (verb, ending in -ing) (Occupation). (Famous Person) said to me one time, " (common phrase)" Think about it.
    Have at it. I hope you enjoy.

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