In today’s technology tip we’d like to share some ideas from Dr. Sugata Mitra about "unsupervised learning and computers." In 1999 Dr. Mitra's team cut a "hole-in-the-wall" that separated the NIIT University from the adjoining slum in Kalkaji, New Delhi, India. Through this hole they mounted a computer that could be accessed and used by anyone who walked up to it. It became an instant sensation among the slum dwelers, especially the children. This prompted Dr. Mitra to propose the following hypothesis:
The acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance.
You can read much more about the development of this project here and read more about the research findings here.
But for a better understanding of the project and it's implications nothing is better than watching Dr. Mitra talk about it himself. In the 20 minute video below you can hear his own description of the project, the findings an what he thinks this research is telling us about how children learn. It is a time committment but the insights are guaranteed to give you a new perspective on education and technology.