This is from an article by Pater Gray on Psychology Today's site. I don't know if it's also in the magazine.
At first it's about the study in India ten years ago of what kids would do if a computer were left out where they could get to it. What they did was learn like crazy.
Here's a portion of this new article:
Why don't school lessons spread in the same wildfire way that Mitra observed in his experiments on minimally invasive education? It is not hard to think of many answers to this question. Here are a few that pop to mind:http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200901/minimally-invasive-education-lessons-india• Children in school are not free to pursue their own, self-chosen interests, and this mutes their enthusiasm.Learning is so easy, and such fun, when it occurs naturally. ...
• Children in school are constantly evaluated. The concern for evaluation and pleasing the teacher--or, for some children, a rebellious reaction against such evaluation--overrides and subverts the possibility of developing genuine interest in the assigned tasks.
• Children in school are often shown one and only one way to solve a problem and are told that other ways are incorrect, so the excitement of discovering new ways is prevented.
• Segregation of children by age in schools prevents the age mixing and diversity that seem to be key to children's natural ways of learning. Mitra observed that the mix of abilities and interests in the age-mixed groups that gathered around the outdoor computers ensured that different functions of the computer were tried out and played with by different children and that a wide variety of discoveries were made, which could then spread from child to child.