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Security be damned

We need access in order to learn and grow

I was reading a booked called The Fuzzy and the Techie by Scott Hartley. In the education section he writes:


“Another researcher who is pushing the boundaries of online education platforms, investing them with more fuzzy awareness of how children can best be inspired to deeply engage with learning, is Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University. His unorthodox experiments in the slums of New Delhi captivated people around the world and became part of the inspiration for the movie Slumdog Millionaire. In 1999, Mitra chopped a hole in the wall of his office building on the edge of a slum in New Delhi and placed a computer inside. Kids flocked to the device and within hours had taught themselves how to browse without any instruction from adults. Soon, they were watching videos and had taught themselves enough English that they could email and use the search function to read articles.”


Mitra went on to win the TED Prize which came with funding to sponsor his educational program.


This story is inspiring in a number of ways, but the one that is on my mind is Security. By removing one of the walls blocking access to technology, people who were otherwise kept out were allowed in. By unblocking their access to technology, they were able to teach themselves how to use it and thereby not only learn about technology but also about anything else that the technology gave them access to, aka the internet.

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