Have you seen:
"If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the
donated PCs, make sure that the hardware donation includes
the original operating system software. Keeping the operating
system with the PC is not just a great benefit - it is a legal
> Have you seen:
> "If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the
> donated PCs, make sure that the hardware donation includes
> the original operating system software. Keeping the operating
> system with the PC is not just a great benefit - it is a legal
Assuming the microsoft view of the world of OS, this comment makes perfect
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Problems to postmaster(a)wellington-college.berks.sch.uk.
On Thursday 18 April 2002 06:38, Andrew Choens wrote:
If we set the boxes up so
> they could tinker with, but not destroy the computers set-up, we might be
> amazed what they could teach themselves. There are lots of community based
> groups out there that might be interested in this sort of a plan.
Hi: No problem, Andrew. They destroy, and fix, and support is available
through volunteers. The malicious destruction isn't a big problem, I don't
think. Could be wrong, but at the same time, I don't think there's a
realistic solution that would lend itself to this issue. We'll just have to
deal with it, and make sure the schools have support available.
Hi, Jim: Wonderful article, and may be the most recommended reading for our
entire world community, I think:
On Thursday 18 April 2002 08:42, you wrote:
> Sorry. Apparently me intended message failed the copy. The article concerns
> what happens when a computer attached ti the internet is placed where
> activity can be observed - remotely. Here is the article. I found it
> interesting working with my school district on various performance seeking
> An Indian physicist puts a PC with a high speed
> internet connection in a wall in the slums and watches what happens. Based
> on the results, he talks about issues of digital divide, computer education
> and kids, the dynamics of the third world getting online.
> New Delhi physicist Sugata Mitra has a radical
> proposal for bringing his country's next generation into the Info Age
> from a Businessweek Online Daily
> Briefing, March 2, 2000.
> Edited by Paul Judge
> Sugata Mitra has a PhD in physics and heads research efforts
> at New Delhi's NIIT, a fast-growing software and education company with
> sales of more than $200 million and a market cap over $2 billion. But
> Mitra's passion is computer-based education, specifically for India's poor.
> He believes that children, even terribly poor kids with little education,
> can quickly teach themselves the rudiments of computer literacy. The key,
> he contends, is for teachers and other adults to give them free rein, so
> their natural curiosity takes over and they teach themselves. He calls the
> concept "minimally invasive education."
> To test his ideas, Mitra 13 months ago launched something he
> calls "the hole in the wall experiment." He took a PC connected to a
> high-speed data connection and imbedded it in a concrete wall next to
> NIIT's headquarters in the south end of New Delhi. The wall separates the
> company's grounds from a garbage-strewn empty lot used by the poor as a
> public bathroom. Mitra simply left the computer on, connected to the
> Internet, and allowed any passerby to play with it. He monitored activity
> on the PC using a remote computer and a video camera mounted in a nearby
> What he discovered was that the most avid users of the
> machine were ghetto kids aged 6 to 12, most of whom have only the most
> rudimentary education and little knowledge of English. Yet within days, the
> kids had taught themselves to draw on the computer and to browse the Net.
> Some of the other things they learned, Mitra says, astonished him.
> The physicist has since installed a computer in a rural
> neighborhood with similar results. He's convinced that 500 million children
> could achieve basic computer literacy over the next five years, if the
> Indian government put 100,000 Net-connected PCs in schools and trained
> teachers in some basic "noninvasive" teaching techniques for guiding
> children in using them. Total investment required, he figures: Around $2
> On Feb. 25, BW Online Contributing Editor Thane Peterson sat
> down with Mitra, a stocky 48-year-old with a mustache and a mop of graying
> black hair, in his tiny, triangular office at NIIT's R&D center on the
> campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in the south part of New
> Delhi. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation.
> Q: What gave you the idea of giving slum kids access to the
> A: It was a social observation rather than a scientific one.
> Any parent who had given his child a computer would invariably remark to me
> about it. I could hardly ever find an exception. Within a very short period
> of time, the parent would be claiming that the child was a genius with a
> computer. When I poked a little further, I invariably found that the child
> was doing things with the computer that the parent didn't understand.
> I asked myself whether the child was really doing something
> exceptional or if what we were seeing was adult incomprehension. If the
> adult was simply underestimating the child's ability to cope with a
> computer, then that should happen with any child. And I asked myself, "Why
> then would we want to use the same teaching methods for children as we use
> for teaching adults?"
> At first, I tested my ideas with children who were easily
> available -- children at the company here, whose parents are in our
> executive group ..
> Then we tried this "hole in the wall" concept, where we put a
> high-powered Pentium computer with a fast Internet connection into a wall
> and let [slum] children have access to it with no explanation whatsoever.
> To be very brief on what happened, the results have been uniform every time
> we've done this experiment. You get base level computer literacy almost
> instantly. By computer literacy, I mean what we adults define as computer
> literacy: The ability to use the mouse, to point, to drag, to drop, to
> copy, and to browse the Internet.
> The children create their own metaphors to do this. To give
> you an idea of what I mean, a journalist came up to one of these kids and
> asked him, "How do you know so much about computers?" The answer seemed
> very strange to her because the kid said, "What's a computer?" The
> terminology is not as important as the metaphor. If they've got the idea of
> how a mouse works and that the Internet is [like a wall they can paint on],
> who cares if they know that a computer is called a computer and a mouse is
> called a mouse? In most of our classes here at NIIT, we spend time teaching
> people the terminology and such. That seems irrelevant to me with these
> But we also found that they would tend to plateau out. They
> would surf the Web -- Disney.com is very popular with them because they
> like games. And they would use [Microsoft] Paint. It's very, very popular
> with all of them.
> Because these are deprived children who do not have easy
> access to paper and paint. Every child likes to paint, so they would do it
> with that program. However, that's all they could do. So I intervened, and
> I played an MP3 [digital-music file] for them. They were astonished to hear
> music come out of the computer for the first time. They said, "Oh, does it
> work like a TV or radio?" I said, in keeping with my approach, "Well, I
> know how to get there but I don't know how it works." Then I [left].
> As I would have expected, seven days later they could have
> taught me a few things about MP3. They had discovered what MP3 was,
> downloaded free players, and were playing their favorite songs. As usual,
> they didn't know what any of it was called. But they would say, "if you
> take this little box, and you drag this file into this box, it plays
> music." They had found out where all the Hindi music was on the Web and had
> pulled it out.
> Q: What does it mean? What does it say for the potential of
> these slum kids? After all, being able to download music isn't enough to
> get them a job.
> A: I don't wish to claim that this shows anything more or
> less than what it has shown, which is that curious kids in groups can train
> themselves to operate a computer at a basic level. In doing so, they also
> can get a generally good idea about the nature of browsing and the nature
> of the Internet .... And, therefore, if they view these things as worth
> learning, no formal infrastructure is needed [to teach them].
> Now, that's a big deal, because everyone agrees that today's
> children must be computer-literate. If computer literacy is defined as
> turning a computer on and off and doing the basic functions, then this
> method allows that kind of computer literacy to be achieved with no formal
> instruction. Therefore any formal instruction for that kind of education is
> a waste of time and money. You can use that time and money to have a
> teacher teach something else that children cannot learn on their own.
> Q: What else have you learned?
> A: Well, I tried another experiment. I went to a middle-class
> school and chose some ninth graders, two girls and two boys. I called their
> physics teacher in and asked him, "What are you going to teach these
> children next year at this time?" He mentioned viscosity. I asked him to
> write down five possible exam questions on the subject. I then took the
> four children and said, "Look here guys. I have a little problem for you."
> They read the questions and said they didn't understand them, it was Greek
> to them. So I said, "Here's a terminal. I'll give you two hours to find the
> Then I did my usual thing: I closed the door and went off
> somewhere else.
> They answered all five questions in two hours. The physics
> teacher checked the answers, and they were correct. That, of itself,
> doesn't mean much. But I said to him, "Talk to the children and find out if
> they really learned something about this subject." So he spent half an hour
> talking to them. He came out and said, "They don't know everything about
> this subject or everything I would teach them. But they do know one hell of
> a lot about it. And they know a couple of things about it I didn't know."
> That's not a wow for the children, it's a wow for the
> Internet. It shows you what it's capable of. The slum children don't have
> physics teachers. But if I could make them curious enough, then all the
> content they need is out there. The greatest expert on earth on viscosity
> probably has his papers up there on the Web somewhere. Creating content is
> not what's important. What is important is infrastructure and access ...
> The teacher's job is very simple. It's to help the children ask the right
> Q: Are you saying that if we put computers in all the slums,
> slum kids could become literate on their own?
> A: I'm saying that, in situations where we cannot intervene
> very frequently, you can multiply the effectiveness of 10 teachers by 100 -
> or 1,000 - fold if you give children access to the Internet.
> Q: This is your concept of minimally invasive education?
> A: Yes. It started out as a joke but I've kept using the term
> ... This is a system of education where you assume that children know how
> to put two and two together on their own. So you stand aside and intervene
> only if you see them going in a direction that might lead into a blind
> alley. That's just so that you don't waste time ... That would create
> teachers who are experts at composing questions.
> Q: What are the business applications of all this?
> A: I get asked this question all the time. It's kind of
> ironic that a company that makes [a big chunk of its sales from running
> computer-training institutes] should invent a method where no teacher is
> required. The answer is that just because a method is economically viable,
> doesn't mean you shouldn't look for alternatives. A good business is one
> which provides more and more for less and less. The cost of your goods and
> services should spiral downwards.
> The second point is that we are going to have an e-commerce
> boom. But what happens when an Indian businessman puts his shop up on the
> Web? Where's he going to get customers from? If someone lets me do this
> experiment for five years, with 100,000 kiosks, I reckon that I could get
> 500 million children computer-literate. It would cost $2 billion. But if
> you had to pay to educate the same children using traditional methods, it
> would cost twice as much.
> Q: If this were to become a business, would it require
> government funding?
> A: Advertisers like Coca-Cola might be interested. But it
> would absolutely have to have government funding. I can't think of a
> company that would put $2 billion into this. The governments will have to
> realize that the problem of the haves and have-nots is about to [become]
> the problem of the knows and knows-not. Do we want to create another great
> big divide where the problem of illiteracy will come back in another
> context? In a very short period of time, adults who do not know how to deal
> with a [computer] mouse will have a very difficult time dealing with almost
> everything in life.
> Q: But most of the information on the Internet is in English
> and the people you're talking about don't speak English.
> A: We had some very surprising results there. We all have
> great misconceptions about what these children know and don't know. At
> first, I made a Hindi interface for the kids, which gave them links for
> hooking up with Web sites in their own language. I thought it would be a
> great hit. Guess what they did with it? They shut it down and went back to
> Internet Explorer. I realized that they may not understand the dictionary
> meaning of [English] words, but they have an operational understanding.
> They know what that word does. They don't know how to pronounce F-I-L-E,
> but they know that within it are options of saving and opening up files ...
> The fact that the Internet is in English will not stop them
> from accessing it.
> They invent their own terminology for what's going on. For
> example, they call the pointer of the mouse sui, which is Hindi for needle.
> More interesting is the hourglass that appears when something is happening.
> Most Indians have never heard of an hourglass. I asked them, "What does
> that mean?" They said, "It's a damru," which is Hindi for Shiva's drum.
> [The God] Shiva holds an hourglass - shaped drum in his hand that you can
> shake from side to side. So they said the sui became a damru when the
> "thing" [the computer] was doing something.
> Q: Of all the things the children did and learned, what did
> you find the most surprising?
> A: One day there was a document file on the desktop of the
> computer. It was called "untitled.doc" and it said in big colorful letters,
> "I Love India." I couldn't believe it for the simple reason that there was
> no keyboard on the computer [only a touch screen]. I asked my main
> assistant -- a young boy, eight years old, the son of a local betel-nut
> seller -- and I asked him, "How on earth did you do this?" He showed me the
> character map inside [Microsoft] Word. So he had gotten into the character
> map inside Word, and dragged and dropped the letters onto the screen, then
> increased the point size and painted the letters. I was stunned because I
> didn't know that the character map existed -- and I have a PhD.
> Q: So what you're talking about is a different sort of
> literacy, a sort of functional literacy ...
> A: Yes, it's functional literacy. There are two examples I'd
> like to give you from the recent past. It's already happened in cable TV in
> India. There are 50 or 60 million cable-TV connections in India at this
> point in time. The guys who set up the meters, splice the coaxial cables,
> make the connection to the house, etc., are very similar to these kids.
> They don't know what they're doing. They only know that if you do these
> things, you'll get the cable channel. And they've managed to [install] 60
> million cable connections so far.
> Example No. 2 is the bicycle. I think we have the biggest
> bicycle-manufacturing industry in the world. The bicycle is ubiquitous
> here, and it's much the same in Malaysia, China, Africa. But you don't ask
> how the population became bicycle-literate. They just use it. So what I'd
> like to see is an India in which a large part [of the population] treats
> the computer that way.
> The other thing is [how the Internet will change when most
> Indians gain access to it]. We have the analogy of cable TV in India.
> Originally, it was all in English. It took exactly four years for all the
> programming to become Hindi. Star TV is now almost all in Hindi. If you go
> to Bangkok, they hate it.
> Q: You're saying that a lot of Hindi content will appear as
> more Indians surf the Net?
> A: Exactly. Let me go on record as saying it's not a question
> of what the Internet will do to India. It's a question of what India will
> do to the Internet ... If rural India goes onto the Internet, there will be
> an absolute flood of Indian-language content from people trying to sell to
> Q: Has the Indian or any other government expressed interest
> in funding such ain Eng project?
> A: Several government agencies, several state governments,
> and several world agencies have expressed an interest. Unfortunately, I
> don't want to name them because I need to get the funds first.
> Q: You say that only the children used the computer, not
> adults. What does this mean for adult education?
> A: I'm not even going to suggest that we use this [technique]
> for adults. The only reaction we got from adults was, "What on earth is
> this for? Why is there no one here to teach us something? How are we ever
> going to use this?" I contend that by the time we are 16, we are taught to
> want teachers, taught that we cannot learn anything without teachers.
> There are two points I'd like to make about the adults. One
> is that the adults asked the children to do things for them. For example,
> to read their horoscopes on the Hindi news sites. The second thing is the
> reaction of the women. I would ask them why they didn't use [the computer],
> and they would say, "I don't have enough brains to understand all this." I
> would say, "What about your daughters?" And the answer was, "They have lots
> of brains." So I said, "Do you think I should just remove this thing?" The
> answer was always, "No, no, no." I asked why not. And they said, "Because
> it's very good for the children."
> Now, if the mothers have realized that, I'm happy. I don't
> care if they don't come [to use the computer]. Because all we have to do is
> wait one generation. Not even that. In five years, a 13-year-old is going
> to be 18 and be an adult.
> Q: Where do you go from here?
> A: There is one experiment that scares me. These children
> don't know what e-mail is. If I gave them e-mail, I don't know what would
> happen. I'll probably try it anyway. But remember the stories one used to
> hear about people finding lost tribes and introducing them to Coca-Cola?
> I'm really seriously scared about what would happen if suddenly the whole
> wide world had access to these kids. I don't know who would talk to them
> for what purpose.
> >>> tom poe <tompoe(a)renonevada.net> 04/18/2002 10:33 >>>
> Hi, Jim: Why an attachment? What is it?
> Tom Poe
> Reno, NV
> On Thursday 18 April 2002 07:19, Jim Parkhurst wrote:
> > > ---------------------------------------------------------
> > Jim Parkhurst
> > Systems Analyst III
> > Texas Department of Transportation
> > General Services Division
> > Automation Support
> > jparkhur(a)dot.state.tx.us
> > Voice : 512-416-3219
> > FAX : 512-416-2099
> > Pager : 606-9774
> Content-Type: message/rfc822; charset="US-ASCII"; name="Attachment: 1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; name="Attachment: 2"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
This is just an enquiry to determine potential interest: we would be
able to offer the following services:
1. EPROM burning: burning e.g. Etherboot images into BootROMs for network
2. Network cards complete with Etherboot BootROMs, ready to use with e.g.
an LTSP server.
Would there be any interest in either of these? We would have to charge a
couple of pounds per ROM to cover costs.
If there is significant interest (i.e. more than one person says "yes")
then we'll add it to our product range.
Sorry. It's been a while for the welcome message. I will get the FAQ and re-educate myself. I didn't want to waste bandwidth.
Systems Analyst III
Texas Department of Transportation
General Services Division
Voice : 512-416-3219
FAX : 512-416-2099
Pager : 606-9774
>>> Christopher Mahmood <ckm(a)suse.com> 04/18/2002 12:45 >>>
* tom poe (tompoe(a)renonevada.net) [020418 08:33]:
> Hi, Jim: Why an attachment? What is it?
Unless it's plain text or a pgp/gpg key, all attachments get
silently (well, not quite. There's an X-header in every posting
that says this) from postings before being sent out. This is
mentioned in the welcome message and explained more fully in the
To unsubscribe, email: suse-schools-usa-unsubscribe(a)suse.com
For additional commands, email: suse-schools-usa-help(a)suse.com
For help, email: suse-schools-usa-owner(a)suse.com
The reason I am so interested in the idea of community involvement on this
topic os simple. Kids from wealthy suburbanite parents probably already have
access (in one way or another) to computers. Hence, although their schools
may be more capable of implementing some of our ideas because they have the
funding and the people with the necessary know-how, it goes to the kids who
benefit the least, because they already had access to computers.
In contrast, the poor schools who will usually lack teachers who are
comfortable with computers and have little funding teach the kids who can
benefit the most. This applies for rural schools every bit as much as it
does for urban schools.
Heck, I'll admit it, since the goal of much of the Linux community is to make
KDE and GNOME just as easy to use as windows, I don't even see a huge
educational benefit to SuSE over Windows. The licensing and cost are the big
benefits to linux for the schools.
Hi, Tyrone: Thanks. Will do.
On Thursday 18 April 2002 11:18, Tyrone Brooks wrote:
> I believe we could do something at our session #1 and session #3 for a
> couple of hours for one day each session. Keep me posted on your progress
> and well make a final decision by June 14th.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tom poe [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Friday, April 12, 2002 8:32 PM
> To: camplotsafun(a)abac.com
> Subject: Inquires from Camplotsafun.com
> Hi, Tyrone: Hope this finds you well and prospering. We're working
> with the idea of putting a SuSE school demo together to pass around for
> their evaluation and "sell them" on the idea of coordinating donated
> computers, Open Source software/Operating System, and support from
> volunteers in the community. To that end, we are thinking we can invite
> IT departments at companies to form Teams that will be on-call to help
> when needed.
> That brings me to wonder, if we get this to jell a bit, and the demo
> system is up by the time your camp occurs, how about using it? We don't
> need to provide Internet access, as we'll have some apps on it to keep
> everyone busy and happy. Let me know what you think.
> Tom Poe
> Reno, NV
Systems Analyst III
Texas Department of Transportation
General Services Division
Voice : 512-416-3219
FAX : 512-416-2099
Pager : 606-9774