Minimally invasive education (MIE) is a form of learning in which children operate in unsupervised environments. The methodology arose from an experiment done by Sugata Mitra while at NIIT in 1999, often called The Hole in the Wall, which has since gone on to become a significant project with the formation of Hole in the Wall Education Limited (HiWEL), a cooperative effort between NIIT and the International Finance Corporation, employed in some 300 'learning stations', covering some 300,000 children in India and several African countries.
Professor Mitra, Chief Scientist at NIIT, is credited with proposing and initiating the Hole-in-the-Wall programme.
When Professor Mitra met British Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, the writer told him that the primary education should be self-organized, it should be achieved by a student without teacher from his surroundings. Then from 1982 Professor Mitra were thinking by himself how it could be. Then after a long time on 26 January 1999, Professor Mitra's team carved a "hole in the wall" that separated the NIIT premises from the adjoining slum in Kalkaji, New Delhi. Through this hole, a freely accessible computer with touch pad and internet connection was put up for use. Some hours later some little boys noticed it and try to use it randomly. This computer proved to be popular among the slum children. With no prior experience, the children learned to use the computer on their own. This prompted Mitra to propose the following hypothesis: The acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance.
Mitra has summarised the results of his experiment as follows. Given free and public access to computers and the Internet group of children can
• Become computer literate on their own, that is, they can learn to use computers and the Internet for most of the tasks done by lay users.
• Teach themselves enough English to use email, chat and search engines.
• Learn to search the Internet for answers to questions in a few months time.
• Improve their English pronunciation on their own.
• Improve their mathematics and science scores in school.
• Answer examination questions several years ahead of time.
• Change their social interaction skills and value systems.
• Form independent opinions and detect indoctrination.
Nowadays, not only India but also in South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana, Nigeria and Cambodia, they run this kind of self-exploration IT education without any assistant and the slum children really do very nice. It’s like a discovery and learning system. HiWEL along with NIIT and IFC of United Nations are doing this project in around 600 Playground Learning Stations(PLS).
The Oscar win movie Slumdog Millionaire was inspired by this project which is written in a book “Q & A” by Dr. Sugata.
Here the TED video where Dr. Sugata explains his awesome idea on minimal invasive eduction for future, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVISGjSAsBs
Another video on this topic, http://video-subtitle.tedcdn.com/talk/podcast/2007P/None/SugataMitra_2007P-low-en.mp4