Monday, January 26, 2009

Hole in the wall - Thinking Allowed review

BBC's Thinking Allowed had this week the most exciting, inspiring, romantic and nearly unbelievable item: The Hole in the Wall project. Laurie Taylor speaks with Sugata Mitra, who started the project which has such amazing and nearly unbelievable results and which among others supplied the basis for a movie success such as Slumdog Millionaire.

Sugata Mitra placed computers in holes in walls in places in India to allow free access to internet and computer use for underprivileged children. He reports the most astonishing fact that in a matter of months the kids master the software, surf and apply and manage to educate themselves. This even stretches beyond the boundaries of language and into tough subject fields such as bio-mechanics.

It defies common, or at least my, observation. My children of 4 and 7 years old, have free access to a computer in much the same way. They have to rely on self-learning and accommodate the language barrier with the mainly English and Latin letter internet and their Hebrew starting point. After months of finding their way around without much assistance I can indeed report amazing feats of self-learning, however, my kids, as opposed to the slum kids in India, do not use paint and Google, but rather have built an endless supply of arcade games to enjoy themselves for hours on end.

Such observation, but by all means, any critical reception would demand more detailing and explanation than is offered. It needs to be noted again Thinking Allowed is too short. Let's not be discouraged though and explore the questions about this program and this specific issue on the Podcast Parlor

More Thinking Allowed:
Moral relativism,
Male Immaturity.

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