Children in Remote Villages in India Teaching Themselves to use Computers Instinctively – with No Help from Adults

An IT engineer in India was gazing out his office window at the poverty-ridden shanty town located just outside the walls of his sleek hi-tech corporate compound. This irony led to inspiration. Computer skills offer a better chance at success for these poor kids.

The BBC reports, “He decided it was time to break a hole in the wall and give the children outside a chance to see what a computer was. He cut a hole and hooked one up. What happened next amazed him. They taught themselves how to use it.”

The article gives fascinating detail on how that occurred.

Innovative kid-only computer kiosks (built to keep large adult hands out) are now being installed in the village squares of other impoverished areas.

Since its inception in 1999, the Hole-in-the-Wall project has grown from a single computer at Kalkaji, New Delhi, to more than a hundred computers at various locations across India and abroad. For the children, it is an extension of their playground where they can play together, teach each other new things and, more importantly, just be themselves. World leaders, like the president of Afghanistan, have come to watch them play on the computers.

The really interesting twist is, no one teaches the kids how to use the technology. They teach themselves. “The driving force behind Hole-in-the-Wall is the the concept of Minimally Invasive Education which is truly path breaking,” reads their Web site. Observing the children at the kiosks for four years has shown “children could learn on their own, something not many people would have imagined.”

Editor’s note: Some families in the U.S. have “imagined” it and they called it Unschooling… a type of homeschooling that is gaining momentum. It is also called natural learning or child-led learning. Approximately 100,000 kids in the U.S. are in families that practice this philosophy… including my own! — Geri


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