In 1999, Sugata Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.
In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”
(listen to Sugata Mitra on TED)
By the way, in one town the students were even learning English…without a teacher.
Now instead of computers, what would happen if we substituted pianos?
Touring the globe since March 2008, ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ is an artwork by Luke Jerram.
Street pianos are appearing in cities across the world. Located in parks, squares, bus shelters, train stations, outside pubs and football grounds, the pianos are for any member of the public to enjoy and claim ownership of. Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. The pianos act as sculptural, musical, empty canvas’s that become a reflection of the communities they are embedded into. Many pianos are personalised and decorated. ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ provides an interconnected resource, a blank canvas, for the public to express themselves and share their creativity. (more)
(listen to the 21 Piano Nocturne played outside the Guildhall, London this past June.)