Slumkids are Kids Too…


In 1999, Sugata Mitra – now Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastlle University in the UK, was working in Delhi when he had a crazy idea.

The complex in which he worked was surrounded by a slum and he wondered what would happen if he embedded an internet-enabled computer in the wall of the complex at kid-height, so that the children running around outside could reach it?  Would the children ignore the computer?  Break it up?  Or – most unlikely of all – would the children learn to use the computer? (Preposterous notion given that these were slum children who hardly ever went to school, never saw the internet and didn’t speak or read English)

So – what do you think happened?

Have a look for yourself.

P.S. – Fun fact – when Vikas Swarup read about Sugata Mitra’s experiment he began to think about slum children educating themselves and was inspired to write Q&A – the novel that was adapted to become Slumdog Millionaire.

18 comments on “Slumkids are Kids Too…

  1. This is truly wonderful. I was captivated and I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to reblog this. We need more people like this on the planet.

  2. Reblogged this on maturestudenthanginginthere and commented:
    As I’m going to be absent from my blog whilst I write my final paper I thought I would share things that I’ve read from other bloggers. This post is from the wonderful Trisha – a lady who is interested in how we can all learn to live with each other. This is a wonderful post about education and how we can reach kids that don’t have access to teaching. It blew me away to say the least. I know there are quite a few educators our there who read my posts, but this one is for everyone and I’d be interested to hear what you think. Here’s to the people who thinking outside the box!

  3. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on oyiabrown.

  4. Lady E says:

    What an inspiring talk…And what a great idea. Being a totally narrow minded hard scientist, I would say that his methods may lack in riguour, and would need to get refined with the help of other specialists in his field to avoid traps such as the misuse of the the idea, by states wanting to cut down on the numbers of teachers, for example. But what the hell, this is exciting!
    🙂

    • johnpnts says:

      If you liked that idea, please check out “Free Energy Now”, a solution to our climate, energy use, and civilization problems. http://www.johnpnts.wordpress.com Thank you!

    • I think his methods may be pretty rigorous but within a different framework – one of the things I like about him is that he really tries not to direct the experiments but just lets them happen. As for the issue about teachers – I agree with you of course but again his point is that there are lots of places without teachers and the children are suffering. Also, I think it raises good questions about trying to facilitate rather than force children to learn. And ye s- I do think it’s pretty exciting!

      • Lady E says:

        The fact that teachers don’t want to or cannot go go to some areas is a political one, and while this approach is interesting and may be part of the answer, I remain skeptical about the fact that it should be the only solution to the problem.
        Thanks for a very thought provoking and inspiring link 🙂

  5. Jo Todd says:

    I am reblogging too, glad you don’t mind. I love these ideas. I found myself thinking of two young friends, brilliant young friends, who can not sit still. They keep getting in trouble for talking. Have our children been telling us for years that they are collaborative and expand with dialogue? I suspect they offer us a window, before it is closed and locked, into ourselves, and our hunger for collaborative problem solving and learning. I also suspect, it will be from this place of renewed connections that the enormous innovations we need may arise. Thank you for another fascinating blog posting.

  6. Jo Todd says:

    Reblogged this on The Healing Alliance and commented:
    I love these ideas. The TED talk is a bit long, but well worth it. I found myself thinking of two young friends, brilliant young friends, who can not sit still. They keep getting in trouble for talking. Have our children been telling us for years that they are collaborative and expand with dialogue? I suspect they offer us a window, before it is closed and locked, into ourselves, and our hunger for collaborative problem solving and learning. I also suspect, it will be from this place of renewed connections that the enormous innovations we need may arise.

  7. This was amazing! I am posting to FB and tweeting

  8. granbee says:

    What a blessing you have shared here,giving us the background of SlumDog Millionaire! Yes, the children learned to use the computer! Hooray and hooray and tap, tap, tap, click,click, click!

  9. Glad you enjoyed it – isn’t it interesting?

  10. eof737 says:

    Enjoyed this again… thoroughly. 😉

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