I may be one of the last people on the planet to hear about this experiment, but just in case I’m not, read on.

Dr. Sugata Mitra conducted an experiment in 1999 in which he placed a computer connected to the Internet in a slum wall in New Delhi.

He allowed children to use this computer in an unsupervised way. Lo and behold, they quickly taught themselves to surf the web and to use applications–on a Windows machine, no less. :-)

Here is the project’s website (thank you, Deepak Shenoy). Here is a PBS video, photo gallery, and interview of Dr. Mitra.

Fascinating stuff. Thanks to Peter Gregory for bringing it to my attention.