Minimally invasive education

Antonio Battro wrote recently about spontaneous reading and literacy experiments with laptops, in an essay on computers as reading prostheses (for children and others). In it he refers to Sugata Mitra’s work in India with the Hole in the Wall project:

In this sense, we should also experiment with spontaneous reading using a computer. OLPC will start now to deliver XO laptops with special software to remote communities with no schools where children and adults are lacking reading, writing or number skills. An inspiration was the famous “hole in the wall” experiment done in India with illiterate children who spontaneously started to read while sharing an unsupervised computer, what Sugata Mitra calls “minimally invasive education”.

Everything we learn in life is part of our education — most of it not conveyed explicitly by instructors. From your own experience: how has minimally invasive education been part of your life, in contrast with controlled, highly directed learning?

3 thoughts on “Minimally invasive education

  1. Pingback: Computed·Blg

  2. Its commonplace that a 3 year old child can use Nintendo without any manual as children at 3 are not ready to read. They learn faster than most adults and its hard to find adults who can beat these children in playing with these screen based devices.

    Sugata Mitra may have opened the eyes of the those who equated lack of learning ability with poverty. Poverty has little to do with ability to learn. Its persistence may make anyone increasingly less capable to learn over a period of time. But they undeniably have similar capability to learn until denied that opportunity over 5 to 15 years of may say 0 to 15 years of age..

  3. Maths and reading were always an amazing learning experience when highly directed. A dozen hours of work dramatically improved my ability to do something new — I can still remember when I decided to learn to speed-read and to learn mental calculation; within weeks it felt like magic.

    Programming was the opposite; learning in classes felt ridiculous, teaching some dry ideas that were only sometimes used; working on my own or in small groups taught me everything.

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