Now this is story fills me with awe at just how amazing it is. There are certainly no idiots in this group that’s for sure!!
What happens when you give a thousand Ethiopian kids a tablet remembering that they have never seen a printed word let alone played around with any kind of expensive technology like mobile phones or tablets? Well duh!! They hack it, like any self respecting youth.
The amazing One Laptop Per Child scheme has been offering up Motorola Xoom tablets to kids in developing countries for a while. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte explained how they’re rolled out, and the impact they have, while he was at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week:
“We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organisation or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.”
That, that is just sensational. To go from never having seen a written word — remember, the towns these kids grow up in have no street signs, no newspapers, no food packaging — to hacking an Android tablet in five months shows how inquisitive and adaptable the human brain is.