[ubuntu-uk] Hole in the Wall Project

alan c aeclist at candt.waitrose.com
Sat Dec 8 08:04:07 GMT 2007

London School of Puppetry wrote:
> Does anyone know anything about this project?  Taking place in India.
> Computers are built into walls in India in open spaces for children to play
> with ....thousands of them have learnt English over the past year by
> playing....Apparently they did try OS tech. but said it didn't work- stuff
> likes Red Hat I was told vaguely.....anyone know anything about it?

Yes. It had at least one bbc audio broadcast a while ago (2005?), I 
was really impressed. It seemed a bit like a prototype  OLPC 
philosophy at least in its learning philosophy. I think an Indian IT 
Minister of the day ran it, not sure.
This was in the dark old days when linux was not quite so widely used 
as it is now, and the computers were windows.

It was an IT Education project not an operating system project, which 
showed that children, of many ages, could and would  get to use a 
computer without any instruction at all, in a very short time - 
typically minutes rather than hours. The key seemed to be that the 
Director had the following approach:
When the computer was first set up, there would be a crowd of kids 
around, curious. He would address them and ask 'Who can ride a bike? - 
all hands went up. 'Who taught you to ride a bike? - lots of shrugs 
and 'I learned myself!' Then he would say 'well, this (computer) is 
like a bike'.Then he just went away!

In minutes things were being done with text and simple graphics, with 
a mostly cooperative interaction in the multi age kids groups, 
including tiny kids getting under the crowd trying to get to the 
keyboard. The same thing happened when they wen to remote villages 
where people had not seen a computer before.

Apart from the OS, I thought that philosophically it led straight to 
OLPC approach in many ways.

At the time I was running an Age Concern Internet cafe and noted how 
our own education culture led so much to people expecting to be told 
and guided to do things.


I cannot now find a 'listen again' bbc item however, I have a stream 
capture of the bbc broadcast in mp3 it is 26MB. If anyone wants to 
have a copy let me know.

alan cocks
Kubuntu user#10391

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