One of our parents sent us this article.  She said she witnessed children teaching themselves Gaelic in Ireland just by watching the Teletubbies in Gaelic only. 

The True Origins of Slumdog Millionaire: The Hole-in-the-Wall Project, An Experiment in Slum/Village Education (Free Article)

In 1999, a computer expert in India thought up an experiment. His office was on the edge of a vast slum. It was separated from the slum by a wall. So, he poked a hole in the wall. Into the hole he inserted a computer screen with a touch pad. Inside his office was a desktop computer. It was hooked up to the Internet. He set up a hidden video camera to make a record of what would happen.

Eight hours later, an 8-year-old boy was on-line, teaching his 6-year-old sister how to browse the Web.  More children came. Within days, the computer was a phenomenon.

He took one to a village far off the beaten path. He set up another computer in a wall. The first youth to show up was a 13-year-old drop-out. The boy had never seen a television before. He assumed that this must be an interactive TV set. Within minutes, he was using the computer. He got the word out. By the end of the day, 70 children had learned to browse.

The experimenter set up a kiosk system in another village where English was not spoken. Then he left for several months. When he returned, village children had learned basic English. They could not pronounce the words accurately, but they could read them.

This experiment led to a book, which in turn led to a movie, Slumdog Millionaire.

Here is a 2-minute video on how the project works. The experimenter has told his story to a TED group.  These 21 minutes will astound you. (If you have little time, begin at 7:15 into the speech.)

He concluded that children can learn in an environment without adults. They teach each other. If the payoff is high enough, they learn on their own what educators say is not possible.  Computers are cheap when compared to teachers and school buildings. This is a way to supplement traditional education in poverty-filled towns and slums.

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