Monday, April 22, 2002  [!]

[note: wacko problem with the site fixed; thanks to Erin Clerico!]

Birdwatching atop a big cannister in the jungle by a big, big ditch You may recall my visit to the Canopy Tower in Panama around two years ago? [First description, more lengthy description, photos]. Well, the Canopy Tower's director sent out an email announcing that the New York Times has an article about Canopy Tower.

Book Festival I mentioned the L.A. Times Festival of Books; got tickets yesterday to many a session. Lined up at 11:30 for noontime Ticketmaster opening. And it's a good thing, too. Sessions I signed up for:

The conversation in these here parts Checking out Wanna Write for Saturday, I see that Veronica posted a poem and heard from its author. Very cool. I like the conversations that take place here. Having posted about the destruction of the Neutra house, I managed to hook up a reporter with Dion Neutra, and having written a long time back about the L.A. Judge's race, I heard from one of the candidates! (and yes, I prolly owe it all to Google!)

Hole-in-the-wall computer education Minimally invasive education [via Backup Brain]

[Sugatra Mitra, a physicist in India] believes that children, even terribly poor kids with little education, can quickly teach themselves the rudiments of computer literacy. The key, he contends, is for teachers and other adults to give them free rein, so their natural curiosity takes over and they teach themselves. He calls the concept "minimally invasive education."

To test his ideas, Mitra 13 months ago launched something he calls "the hole in the wall experiment." He took a PC connected to a high-speed data connection and imbedded it in a concrete wall next to NIIT's headquarters in the south end of New Delhi. The wall separates the company's grounds from a garbage-strewn empty lot used by the poor as a public bathroom. Mitra simply left the computer on, connected to the Internet, and allowed any passerby to play with it. He monitored activity on the PC using a remote computer and a video camera mounted in a nearby tree.