Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the "hole in the wall"

  • Sugata Mitra Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems
  • Ritu Dangwal Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems
  • Shiffon Chatterjee Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems
  • Swati Jha Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems
  • Ravinder S. Bisht Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems
  • Preeti Kapur Centre for Research in Cognitive Systems

Abstract

Earlier work, often referred to as the "hole in the wall" experiments, has shown that groups of children can learn to use public computers on their own. This paper presents the method and results of an experiment conducted to investigate whether such unsupervised group learning in shared public spaces is universal. The experiment was conducted with "hole in the wall" (minimally invasive education, or MIE) computers in 17 locations in rural India. Focus groups in each location were tested for computer literacy for 9 months.

Results, which are discussed in the paper, show that groups of children can learn to use computers and the Internet on their own, irrespective of who or where they are. Furthermore, such group self instruction is as effective as traditional classroom instruction, whilst this learning is considerably less expensive and is independent of teachers and schools. The results point to a new pedagogy for children's education in those circumstances where schools and teachers are either absent or not effective due to any reason.

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Published
2005-10-14
How to Cite
Mitra, S., Dangwal, R., Chatterjee, S., Jha, S., Bisht, R. S., & Kapur, P. (2005). Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the "hole in the wall". Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(3). https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1328