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Re: [evonline2002_webheads] Learning English without teachers

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  • Gavin Dudeney
    Dennis, I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more, Gavin Sent from my iPhone ...
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 31, 2012
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      Dennis,

      I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,

      Gavin

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 31 Oct 2012, at 18:09, Dennis Newson <djn@...> wrote:

      > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
      > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
      >
      > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
      > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
      > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
      > the alphabet in English.
      >
      > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
      >
      > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
      > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign language
      > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
      >
      > Comments?
      >
      > Dennis
      > --
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Hibbs
      ... Gavin, I know what good work you do and have a high respect for your opinions. i imagine you are (mostly) right about dogged use can lead to some
      Message 2 of 13 , Nov 1, 2012
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        At 6:53 PM +0000 10/31/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
        >I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English
        >can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,

        Gavin, I know what good work you do and have a high respect for your
        opinions. i imagine you are (mostly) "right" about "dogged use can
        lead to some vocabulary learning".

        What bothers me is the last two words: "nothing more".

        The first step to overcome all new challenges is always the hardest.
        Once SOME of those kids take that "first step" - and learn "some
        vocabulary" - doesn't that help to make the next steps easier? And if
        so, shouldn't more "hole in the wall" experiments continue?

        Kind regards,
        John Hibbs
        http://oregonhibbs.com
      • Gavin Dudeney
        John, Many thanks for the kind words. I was in fact responding only to the suggestion that kids can learn a language from a computer without a teacher. I
        Message 3 of 13 , Nov 1, 2012
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          John,

          Many thanks for the kind words.

          I was in fact responding only to the suggestion that kids can learn a
          language from a computer without a teacher. I suspect some may be able
          to to, given time and enough determination, but I'm not sure that's what
          the HITW experiments show at all.

          I admire Mitra's work, but it mostly showed how kids can get together
          and figure things out for themselves (this seems to pertain much more
          closely to mechanical things like 'how to open a webpage and follow a
          link' than it does to more complicated things like 'how to learn enough
          English to pass FCE')

          All I was trying to say (in too few words, due to my typing on a phone
          at the time) was that in one place in the HITW experiments (I believe is
          was Lucknow - but don't have time to check right now) Mitra's team found
          that the kids had learned a subset of computing language and were able
          to use it in the right places. There is no suggestion that these kids
          learned how to form complex sentences, merely that a large amount of
          exposure to an icon of a file associated with the word 'file' had led to
          them retaining that word as a vocabulary item. There is a huge gap
          between learning some words and learning a language.

          I have managed to learn the word 'beer' in many languages of the world,
          but apart from French and Spanish (which I studied for many years at
          school and university) and Catalan (which I learned by watching
          television, but from a solid base of studied French and Spanish) I could
          not claim to speak any of them. I can also operate Windows in most
          languages of the world. I have no idea what the menus say, I simply know
          where they are. I think that demonstrates the difference amply.

          I'm certainly not saying that HITW experiments are not valid, just that
          we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw from them.

          Best,

          Gavin

          > John Hibbs <mailto:skipper@...>
          > 1 November 2012 16:45
          >
          > At 6:53 PM +0000 10/31/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
          > >I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English
          > >can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
          >
          > Gavin, I know what good work you do and have a high respect for your
          > opinions. i imagine you are (mostly) "right" about "dogged use can
          > lead to some vocabulary learning".
          >
          > What bothers me is the last two words: "nothing more".
          >
          > The first step to overcome all new challenges is always the hardest.
          > Once SOME of those kids take that "first step" - and learn "some
          > vocabulary" - doesn't that help to make the next steps easier? And if
          > so, shouldn't more "hole in the wall" experiments continue?
          >
          > Kind regards,
          > John Hibbs
          > http://oregonhibbs.com
          >
          >
          > Gavin Dudeney <mailto:gavin.dudeney@...>
          > 31 October 2012 18:53
          >
          > Dennis,
          >
          > I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can
          > lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
          >
          > Gavin
          >
          > Sent from my iPhone
          >
          > On 31 Oct 2012, at 18:09, Dennis Newson <djn@...
          > <mailto:djn%40dennisnewson.de>> wrote:
          >
          > > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
          > > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
          > >
          > > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
          > > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
          > > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
          > > the alphabet in English.
          > >
          > >
          > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
          > >
          > > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
          > > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign
          > language
          > > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
          > >
          > > Comments?
          > >
          > > Dennis
          > > --
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          > Dennis Newson <mailto:djn@...>
          > 31 October 2012 18:09
          >
          > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
          > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
          >
          > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
          > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
          > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
          > the alphabet in English.
          >
          > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
          >
          > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
          > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign language
          > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
          >
          > Comments?
          >
          > Dennis
          > --
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >

          --
          Gavin Dudeney - Director of Technology, The Consultants-E
          c/ Ceramica 54, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
          Tel: +34 93 427 4240 | +44 20 7193 0770
          http://www.theconsultants-e.com

          Original Online Providers: CertIBET and CertICT - http://tinyurl.com/3s3mm7
          Winners: 2007 British Council ELTON award - http://tinyurl.com/3e2c54
          Winners: 2007 Ben Warren Trust Prize - http://tinyurl.com/6yolo4

          CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLAIMER NOTICE
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          opening any attachments.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith
          I agree with Gavin -- But of course kids can learn a language without teachers. Look at all the immigrant kids who come to the U.S. and are soon unable to
          Message 4 of 13 , Nov 1, 2012
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            I agree with Gavin --

            But of course kids can learn a language without teachers. Look at all the immigrant kids who come to the U.S. and are soon unable to speak their native language.

            All the kids are doing, in this Ethiopian report, is learning to master a tablet computer -- not really too difficult, even for us "oldies," eh? And once in, the simple programs are easy even for my then 2-1/2 yr old grand-daughter. (She did well with math games, but you should see her on Ninja Fruit!)

            Thanks for bringing this article to our attention, Dennis!

            Cheers-
            --Elizabeth



            --- In evonline2002_webheads@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Newson <djn@...> wrote:
            >
            > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
            > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
            >
            > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
            > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
            > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
            > the alphabet in English.
            >
            > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
            >
            > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
            > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign language
            > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
            >
            > Comments?
            >
            >
            > Dennis
            > --
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • John Hibbs
            Gavin, you sold me. The part about learning the word beer in many languages. It was the first Spanish word I learned on my first trip abroad ..in Mexico, age
            Message 5 of 13 , Nov 1, 2012
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              Gavin, you sold me. The part about learning the word beer in many
              languages. It was the first Spanish word I learned on my first trip
              "abroad"..in Mexico, age 16. There are some other words I learned in
              several languages, to include (first and foremost) "please" and "than
              you." The other words? phrases? Not here; but some day --- when you
              and I have a cerverza. and ready for some giggles.
              At 4:56 PM +0000 11/1/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
              >John,
              >
              >Many thanks for the kind words.
              >
              >I was in fact responding only to the suggestion that kids can learn a
              >language from a computer without a teacher. I suspect some may be able
              >to to, given time and enough determination, but I'm not sure that's what
              >the HITW experiments show at all.
              >
              >I admire Mitra's work, but it mostly showed how kids can get together
              >and figure things out for themselves (this seems to pertain much more
              >closely to mechanical things like 'how to open a webpage and follow a
              >link' than it does to more complicated things like 'how to learn enough
              >English to pass FCE')
              >
              >All I was trying to say (in too few words, due to my typing on a phone
              >at the time) was that in one place in the HITW experiments (I believe is
              >was Lucknow - but don't have time to check right now) Mitra's team found
              >that the kids had learned a subset of computing language and were able
              >to use it in the right places. There is no suggestion that these kids
              >learned how to form complex sentences, merely that a large amount of
              >exposure to an icon of a file associated with the word 'file' had led to
              >them retaining that word as a vocabulary item. There is a huge gap
              >between learning some words and learning a language.
              >
              >I have managed to learn the word 'beer' in many languages of the world,
              >but apart from French and Spanish (which I studied for many years at
              >school and university) and Catalan (which I learned by watching
              >television, but from a solid base of studied French and Spanish) I could
              >not claim to speak any of them. I can also operate Windows in most
              >languages of the world. I have no idea what the menus say, I simply know
              >where they are. I think that demonstrates the difference amply.
              >
              >I'm certainly not saying that HITW experiments are not valid, just that
              >we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw from them.
              >
              >Best,
              >
              >Gavin
              >
              >> John Hibbs <mailto:skipper@...>
              >> 1 November 2012 16:45
              >>
              >> At 6:53 PM +0000 10/31/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
              >> >I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English
              >> >can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
              >>
              >> Gavin, I know what good work you do and have a high respect for your
              >> opinions. i imagine you are (mostly) "right" about "dogged use can
              >> lead to some vocabulary learning".
              >>
              >> What bothers me is the last two words: "nothing more".
              >>
              >> The first step to overcome all new challenges is always the hardest.
              >> Once SOME of those kids take that "first step" - and learn "some
              >> vocabulary" - doesn't that help to make the next steps easier? And if
              >> so, shouldn't more "hole in the wall" experiments continue?
              >>
              >> Kind regards,
              >> John Hibbs
              >> http://oregonhibbs.com
              >>
              >>
              >> Gavin Dudeney <mailto:gavin.dudeney@...>
              >> 31 October 2012 18:53
              >>
              >> Dennis,
              >>
              >> I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can
              >> lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
              >>
              >> Gavin
              >>
              >> Sent from my iPhone
              >>
              >> On 31 Oct 2012, at 18:09, Dennis Newson <djn@...
              >> <mailto:djn%40dennisnewson.de>> wrote:
              >>
              >> > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
              >> > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
              >> >
              >> > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
              >> > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
              >> > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
              >> > the alphabet in English.
              >> >
              >> >
              >>
              >>http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
              > > >
              >> > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
              >> > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign
              >> language
              >> > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
              >> >
              >> > Comments?
              >> >
              >> > Dennis
              >> > --
              >> >
              >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >> >
              >> >
              >>
              >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>
              >>
              >> Dennis Newson <mailto:djn@...>
              >> 31 October 2012 18:09
              >>
              >> The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
              >> them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
              >>
              >> The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
              >> ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
              >> hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
              >> the alphabet in English.
              >>
              >>
              >>http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
              >>
              >> How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
              >> does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign language
              >> on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
              >>
              >> Comments?
              >>
              >> Dennis
              >> --
              >>
              >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>
              >>
              >
              >--
              >Gavin Dudeney - Director of Technology, The Consultants-E
              >c/ Ceramica 54, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
              >Tel: +34 93 427 4240 | +44 20 7193 0770
              >http://www.theconsultants-e.com
              >
              >Original Online Providers: CertIBET and CertICT - http://tinyurl.com/3s3mm7
              >Winners: 2007 British Council ELTON award - http://tinyurl.com/3e2c54
              >Winners: 2007 Ben Warren Trust Prize - http://tinyurl.com/6yolo4
              >
              >CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLAIMER NOTICE
              >This email and any attachments are private and confidential. It is
              >intended for the recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient,
              >any use, disclosure, distribution, printing or copying of this email is
              >unauthorised. You may not read, use or take any action in reliance on
              >it. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender
              >immediately by replying to this email and permanently delete the email
              >from your computer. The contents of any attachments to this e-mail may
              >contain software viruses which could damage your own computer system.
              >While we have taken every reasonable precaution to minimise this risk,
              >we cannot accept liability for any damage which you sustain as a result
              >of software viruses. You should carry out your own virus checks before
              >opening any attachments.
              >
              >
              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              >------------------------------------
              >
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              >
              >
            • Vance Stevens
              I think the hole in the wall demonstrates human capacity to learn for whatever purpose one is intrinsically motivated to achieve. In the slum kids case it
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 2, 2012
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                I think the hole in the wall demonstrates human capacity to learn for
                whatever purpose one is intrinsically motivated to achieve. In the slum
                kids' case it was opening up the world that appeared suddenly in the wall
                (more to do with operating the machine than learning a language). In the
                case of immigrant children there's the language instinct at play as well,
                and the capacity of children to develop language which doesn't exist to
                such an extent in adults, so that when adults come together, pidgins occur.
                But still they learn enough of each other's languages to order beer, or
                conduct commerce, or whatever is the task at hand.

                In the case of Ethiopian kids picking up western alphabet, this seems to me
                to be perfectly reasonable. When I was in Georgia this past summer I used
                rosetta stones (anything written with script in English and Georgian) to
                work out what some letters were and thereby be able to eventually read
                destinations in subway stations. I do the same thing in Chinese bus
                stations where I learn to recognize the kanji for where I'm going and then
                find the bus with that kanji. Those kanji might also appear in other
                contexts so I find myself transliterating portions of words in those
                contexts.

                But as Gavin says, I'm not learning Georgian or Chinese, I'm just
                navigating my world using whatever clues I can. I think these experiments
                show the fascinating extent to which humans are capable of applying pattern
                recognition and cognition to resolving puzzles.

                Vance


                On Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 11:19 PM, John Hibbs <skipper@...> wrote:

                > **
                >
                >
                > Gavin, you sold me. The part about learning the word beer in many
                > languages. It was the first Spanish word I learned on my first trip
                > "abroad"..in Mexico, age 16. There are some other words I learned in
                > several languages, to include (first and foremost) "please" and "than
                > you." The other words? phrases? Not here; but some day --- when you
                > and I have a cerverza. and ready for some giggles.
                >
                > At 4:56 PM +0000 11/1/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
                > >John,
                > >
                > >Many thanks for the kind words.
                > >
                > >I was in fact responding only to the suggestion that kids can learn a
                > >language from a computer without a teacher. I suspect some may be able
                > >to to, given time and enough determination, but I'm not sure that's what
                > >the HITW experiments show at all.
                > >
                > >I admire Mitra's work, but it mostly showed how kids can get together
                > >and figure things out for themselves (this seems to pertain much more
                > >closely to mechanical things like 'how to open a webpage and follow a
                > >link' than it does to more complicated things like 'how to learn enough
                > >English to pass FCE')
                > >
                > >All I was trying to say (in too few words, due to my typing on a phone
                > >at the time) was that in one place in the HITW experiments (I believe is
                > >was Lucknow - but don't have time to check right now) Mitra's team found
                > >that the kids had learned a subset of computing language and were able
                > >to use it in the right places. There is no suggestion that these kids
                > >learned how to form complex sentences, merely that a large amount of
                > >exposure to an icon of a file associated with the word 'file' had led to
                > >them retaining that word as a vocabulary item. There is a huge gap
                > >between learning some words and learning a language.
                > >
                > >I have managed to learn the word 'beer' in many languages of the world,
                > >but apart from French and Spanish (which I studied for many years at
                > >school and university) and Catalan (which I learned by watching
                > >television, but from a solid base of studied French and Spanish) I could
                > >not claim to speak any of them. I can also operate Windows in most
                > >languages of the world. I have no idea what the menus say, I simply know
                > >where they are. I think that demonstrates the difference amply.
                > >
                > >I'm certainly not saying that HITW experiments are not valid, just that
                > >we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw from them.
                > >
                > >Best,
                > >
                > >Gavin
                > >
                > >> John Hibbs <mailto:skipper@...>
                > >> 1 November 2012 16:45
                > >>
                > >> At 6:53 PM +0000 10/31/12, Gavin Dudeney wrote:
                > >> >I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English
                > >> >can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
                > >>
                > >> Gavin, I know what good work you do and have a high respect for your
                > >> opinions. i imagine you are (mostly) "right" about "dogged use can
                > >> lead to some vocabulary learning".
                > >>
                > >> What bothers me is the last two words: "nothing more".
                > >>
                > >> The first step to overcome all new challenges is always the hardest.
                > >> Once SOME of those kids take that "first step" - and learn "some
                > >> vocabulary" - doesn't that help to make the next steps easier? And if
                > >> so, shouldn't more "hole in the wall" experiments continue?
                > >>
                > >> Kind regards,
                > >> John Hibbs
                > >> http://oregonhibbs.com
                > >>
                > >>
                > >> Gavin Dudeney <mailto:gavin.dudeney@...>
                > >> 31 October 2012 18:53
                > >>
                > >> Dennis,
                > >>
                > >> I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can
                > >> lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
                > >>
                > >> Gavin
                > >>
                > >> Sent from my iPhone
                > >>
                > >> On 31 Oct 2012, at 18:09, Dennis Newson <djn@...
                > >> <mailto:djn%40dennisnewson.de>> wrote:
                > >>
                > >> > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without
                > mentioning
                > >> > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
                > >> >
                > >> > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
                > >> > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their
                > own,
                > >> > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked
                > up
                > >> > the alphabet in English.
                > >> >
                > >> >
                > >>
                > >>
                > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
                > > > >
                > >> > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work
                > there
                > >> > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign
                > >> language
                > >> > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
                > >> >
                > >> > Comments?
                > >> >
                > >> > Dennis
                > >> > --
                > >> >
                > >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >> >
                > >> >
                > >>
                > >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >>
                > >>
                > >> Dennis Newson <mailto:djn@...>
                > >> 31 October 2012 18:09
                > >>
                > >> The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
                > >> them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
                > >>
                > >> The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
                > >> ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
                > >> hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
                > >> the alphabet in English.
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
                > >>
                > >> How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
                > >> does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign
                > language
                > >> on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
                > >>
                > >> Comments?
                > >>
                > >> Dennis
                > >> --
                > >>
                > >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >>
                > >>
                > >
                > >--
                > >Gavin Dudeney - Director of Technology, The Consultants-E
                > >c/ Ceramica 54, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
                > >Tel: +34 93 427 4240 | +44 20 7193 0770
                > >http://www.theconsultants-e.com
                > >
                > >Original Online Providers: CertIBET and CertICT -
                > http://tinyurl.com/3s3mm7
                > >Winners: 2007 British Council ELTON award - http://tinyurl.com/3e2c54
                > >Winners: 2007 Ben Warren Trust Prize - http://tinyurl.com/6yolo4
                > >
                > >CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLAIMER NOTICE
                > >This email and any attachments are private and confidential. It is
                > >intended for the recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient,
                > >any use, disclosure, distribution, printing or copying of this email is
                > >unauthorised. You may not read, use or take any action in reliance on
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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anne Fox
                I m going to weigh in here as I ve seen heard Mitra speak several times (and even got to interview him for my podcast once). The hole in the wall experiments
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 2, 2012
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                  I'm going to weigh in here as I've seen heard Mitra speak several times
                  (and even got to interview him for my podcast once). The hole in the wall
                  experiments showed that kids can learn to use the computers to a certain
                  degree and that they can master the bits of a foreign language necessary to
                  make the computer do what they want it to do as well as learning enough of
                  the language to understand content that was not in their native language. I
                  think this is more than just learning the word for a beer. In addition to
                  the computer skills and the rudimentary language skills they also acquired
                  skills in image manipulation and biological concepts and also learned how
                  to contact experts with the knowledge they required. Not mastery I agree
                  but much more than just the basics I think.

                  --
                  Anne Fox <http://annefox.eu/>
                  Uni-Key <http://www.uni-key.eu/> Unleash your business potential!
                  I Go To China <http://www.igotochina.org> Teach English in rural China,
                  6-12 months
                  NooA <http://campus.nooa.info/> The Learning Portal
                  UnderstandIT <http://aitel.hist.no/understandit/> An online structured,
                  multi stakeholder approach to planning e-learning
                  Absolutely Intercultural <http://www.absolutely-intercultural.com/> Winner
                  European Podcast Award 2010, Denmark non-profit


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Nina Liakos
                  Interesting thread. Have any of you read Mitra s TED Book, Beyond the Hole in the Wall? Very short, very interesting! I blogged about it here, in case you are
                  Message 8 of 13 , Nov 3, 2012
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                    Interesting thread. Have any of you read Mitra's TED Book, Beyond the Hole in the Wall? Very short, very interesting! I blogged about it here, in case you are interested: http://nliakos.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/beyond-the-hole-in-the-wall-discover-the-power-of-self-organized-learning/

                    Nina

                    PS I think many adults have learned English without a teacher, but they are not average language learners. They are very motivated and perhaps also gifted. Of course, all of us native speakers learned it that way, and young children are perfectly capable of doing so as well, in my opinion.

                    --- In evonline2002_webheads@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Newson <djn@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
                    > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
                    >
                    > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
                    > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
                    > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
                    > the alphabet in English.
                    >
                    > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
                    >
                    > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
                    > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign language
                    > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
                    >
                    > Comments?
                    >
                    >
                    > Dennis
                    > --
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • Maria Rosario Di Mónaco
                    Dear Nina, Your comment has been very helpful to me in many ways: I ve found your post interesting enough to whet my interest in this book, plus you have
                    Message 9 of 13 , Nov 3, 2012
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                      Dear Nina,

                      Your comment has been very helpful to me in many ways: I've found your post
                      interesting enough to whet my interest in this book, plus you have pointed
                      me to the Amazon TED books section, which, as a new happy owner of a
                      Kindle, I very much appreciate. By the way, the link to the Amazon page
                      doesn't seem to work. No problem though, I found it easily enough here:
                      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Adigital-text%2Ck%3Ated+books&keywords=ted+books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339083271
                      Thanks!
                      Mary

                      On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM, Nina Liakos <nina.liakos@...> wrote:

                      > **
                      >
                      >
                      > Interesting thread. Have any of you read Mitra's TED Book, Beyond the Hole
                      > in the Wall? Very short, very interesting! I blogged about it here, in case
                      > you are interested:
                      > http://nliakos.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/beyond-the-hole-in-the-wall-discover-the-power-of-self-organized-learning/
                      >
                      > Nina
                      >
                      > PS I think many adults have learned English without a teacher, but they
                      > are not average language learners. They are very motivated and perhaps also
                      > gifted. Of course, all of us native speakers learned it that way, and young
                      > children are perfectly capable of doing so as well, in my opinion.
                      >
                      > --- In evonline2002_webheads@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Newson <djn@...>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > The One PC Per Child initiative have just repeated - without mentioning
                      > > them - the Mitra "Hole in the wall" experiments.
                      > >
                      > > The organization claims that Ethiopian illiterate children between the
                      > > ages of 4-8, with no English, quickly mastered the tablets on their own,
                      > > hacked their way into blocked functions like taking photos and picked up
                      > > the alphabet in English.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > http://now.msn.com/one-laptop-per-child-successfully-delivers-computer-tablets-to-ethiopian-children
                      > >
                      > > How seriously can one take these reports? Along with Mitra's work there
                      > > does seem to be some evidence that youngsters can learn a foreign
                      > language
                      > > on their own with no need for a flesh-and-blood teacher.
                      > >
                      > > Comments?
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Dennis
                      > > --
                      >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Nina Liakos
                      Hi Mary, Glad to be of service! I love TED-Everything, don t you? Nina
                      Message 10 of 13 , Nov 5, 2012
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                        Hi Mary,
                        Glad to be of service! I love TED-Everything, don't you?
                        Nina

                        --- In evonline2002_webheads@yahoogroups.com, Maria Rosario Di Mónaco <marydimonaco@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dear Nina,
                        >
                        > Your comment has been very helpful to me in many ways: I've found your post
                        > interesting enough to whet my interest in this book, plus you have pointed
                        > me to the Amazon TED books section, which, as a new happy owner of a
                        > Kindle, I very much appreciate. By the way, the link to the Amazon page
                        > doesn't seem to work. No problem though, I found it easily enough here:
                        > http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_sc_1?rh=i%3Adigital-text%2Ck%3Ated+books&keywords=ted+books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339083271
                        > Thanks!
                        > Mary
                      • Mike
                        ... Hi Gavin, I beg to differ but I have no studies or statistics to back up my claim. (So why don t I just shut up?). Seriously, all I can do is point out
                        Message 11 of 13 , Nov 6, 2012
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                          Gavin Dudeney <gavin.dudeney@...> wrote:
                          > Dennis,
                          >
                          > I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
                          >
                          > Gavin
                          >
                          > Sent from my iPhone

                          Hi Gavin,
                          I beg to differ but I have no studies or statistics to back up my claim. (So why don't I just shut up?).

                          Seriously, all I can do is point out that Google Analytics shows me that about 8% of daily users of my site (about 300 users - and LEARNERS, I THINK), spend an average of 36 minutes a day in the interactive learning sections of the site, providing an overall average of 10 min, 33 seconds per user for all visitors. The vocabulary-learning content exists, but is not a terribly important feature. There is much more emphasis on listening comprehension, grammar, and lexicals.

                          Maybe some users open up the learning section of the site in their browsers and forget to close their browsers? I wonder if there is any way to know?

                          Best wishes,
                          Mike

                          PS
                          Friends: Skype or call or chat or message at least one person you know in the States to make sure they vote before the end of the US day today. I called at least a dozen, acting like it didn't matter for whom they vote!
                        • Gavin Dudeney
                          Mike, I certainly won t beg to differ with you! However, we were talking abut Mitra s experiment in the original set of messages - no structured material, no
                          Message 12 of 13 , Nov 6, 2012
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                            Mike,

                            I certainly won't beg to differ with you!

                            However, we were talking abut Mitra's experiment in the original set of
                            messages - no structured material, no guided use - simply a computer in
                            a booth with (in the case of the part of the project I was referring
                            to) a collection of CDs which happened to be in English. I think claims
                            of any kind of reasonable language learning in that scenario are
                            exaggerated. Yes, the kids learnt some vocabulary items, but that was
                            about it (linguistically, at least).

                            As you note, at best you can surmise that people have 'opened' pages of
                            your site. what they have then done remains largely a mystery.

                            Best,

                            Gavin


                            > Mike <mailto:marzio-school@...>
                            > 6 November 2012 16:48
                            >
                            > Gavin Dudeney <gavin.dudeney@...> wrote:
                            > > I think Mitra only showed that dogged use of a computer in English
                            > can lead to some vocabulary learning, nothing more,
                            >
                            >
                            > Hi Gavin,
                            > I beg to differ but I have no studies or statistics to back up my
                            > claim. (So why don't I just shut up?).
                            >
                            > Seriously, all I can do is point out that Google Analytics shows me
                            > that about 8% of daily users of my site (about 300 users - and
                            > LEARNERS, I THINK), spend an average of 36 minutes a day in the
                            > interactive learning sections of the site, providing an overall
                            > average of 10 min, 33 seconds per user for all visitors. The
                            > vocabulary-learning content exists, but is not a terribly important
                            > feature. There is much more emphasis on listening comprehension,
                            > grammar, and lexicals.
                            >
                            > Maybe some users open up the learning section of the site in their
                            > browsers and forget to close their browsers? I wonder if there is any
                            > way to know?
                            >

                            Gavin Dudeney - Director of Technology, The Consultants-E
                            c/ Ceramica 54, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
                            Tel: +34 93 427 4240 | +44 20 7193 0770
                            http://www.theconsultants-e.com

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