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They don't cite it, but their experiment was clearly inspired by the successes of the Hole in the Wall project in India which has been successful for many years.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_shows_how_kids_teach_t...

http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/Beginnings.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_educa...

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/self-organized-learning-sugata-...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimally_invasive_education




Yes, Dr. Mitra was involved in this project too. See this comment by Ed McNierney on the Technology Review article:

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506466/given-tablets-bu...

Although OLPC initiated and has been managing this experiment, we haven't done it alone. Right from the beginning the project team has included Prof. Sugata Mitra of Newcastle University (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ecls/staff/profile/sugata.mitra) and Prof. Maryanne Wolf, director of the Tufts University Center for Reading and Language Research (http://ase.tufts.edu/crlr/team/wolf.htm).

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Go watch his speech. It is amazing.

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