The World’s Most Innovative Schools: Hole in the Wall

March 9, 2011 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

children using a 'hole in the wall' computer

Kids using a 'hole in the wall' computer (image from their website)

by Alec Patton

This week, we are stretching the definition of ‘school’ way past its breaking point, because this week’s ‘school’ is a rugged outdoor computer stuck into a “hole-in-the-wall”  in communal space where it is accessible to all children. On the computer is software which encourages self-led, collaborative, play-based learning. There is no ‘training’for the kids, and, as far as I can tell, no compulsion. They just set up the computer (which looks quite a lot like a cash machine) and let the kids work it out.

Hole-in-the-wall began in 1999, serving children living in a slum in Kalkaji, New Delhi with what its founder, Sugata Mitra, calls “Minimally Invasive Education”. Since then, Hole-in-the-wall has spread across India, and has a growing international presence.

Results have often been remarkable – in their report Learning from the Extremes, Charles Leadbeater and Annika Wong describe how in one town, known for its singers, children (with no adult help) worked out how to record their own songs within 24 hours.

Further reading:

Hole-in-the-wall website

Extensive documentation and analysis of learning outcomes from Hole-in-the-Wall’s four-year “research phase” (2000-2004) is available here.

Sugata Mitra’s rather astonishing 2010 Ted Talk:


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Listening to young people – or not – at Jamie’s Dream School Must-read article by Atul Gawande on delivering better, cheaper medical care through ‘hot spotting’ (New Yorker)

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