Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hole in the wall ICT integration

Children are lean mean learning machines. They do not need a school to learn although they might need a school to learn what 'we' want them to learn. I have noted on a number of occasions where we, at school, have introduced a bit of software or some feature on the computers in the school. The students check it out and learn to use it. We get some questions but in the main the roll out is simple. We have used this strategy to make changes in the school where students have led the way and created pressure that has led to staff making some changes. An example of this was to use Eudora as an email client rather than use the web based email supplied.

The “Hole in the wall” experiments talked about in this article are absolutely fascinating. A computer was made available to the poorest of the poor in India via a hole in the wall in playgrounds. No tuition, just a computer.

We found that children given unsupervised access to computers in public or play areas would become:

  1. Computer literate – in their own way, with their own vocabulary, but highly effective nevertheless.
  2. Better at math and English – I don’t know why, maybe because they learn to analyze and solve problems in groups.
  3. More social and cooperative – because they learn that knowledge, unlike material objects, grows with sharing.
  4. More interested in school – if the computer is near or in the school premises.
  5. Less likely to drop out of school – because they want their computer.
  6. Less interested in petty crime – mostly because all their free time is spent at the computer.
  7. Generate local goodwill – parents like the idea that the child is learning something and not creating trouble at home.

So what can we learn from this for our ICT integration projects here?


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