What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa. — Evan Ackerman, in “Ethiopian Kids Hack OLPCs in 5 Months with Zero Instruction“, 30 Oct 2012


Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab is a pioneer exploring radical self-reliance as a pedagogical strategy. Although the intent of his research is not to expressly explore any of the 10 Principles, his results certainly are interesting. Inspired by the Neal Stephenson novel The Diamond Age, Negroponte wondered what would happen if he left a box of solar-powered tablet PCs – sealed in a box – in an Ethiopian village. The result? Kids found the box, opened it, figured out how to get and install new apps, and taught themselves English (and how to read it) in a matter of weeks. Then, they started teaching their parents.

What resources did these children have? Just time and curiosity — and a will to learn.

Read more of this inspiring story here.

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