This incident has presented us with a curious science fiction conundrum. Ethiopian kids who can’t read can educate themselves with computers? Is that for real? How well will it work?
But Isaac Asimov wrote this in the early 50s.
users.aber (dot) ac (dot) uk/dgc/funtheyhad (dot) html
The ironic thing is, is that he was not expecting it for another 140 years. What have our educators really been doing for the last 50 years? But NELL is derived from another science fiction book, Diamond Age (1995) by Neal Stephenson, though Orson Scott Card described something similar in Ender’s Game in 1985 it was not as central to the story.
NELL is named from Diamond Age.
http://cscott (dot) net/Publications/OLPC/idc2012 (dot) pdf
But the narrative educational technique could have been used via science fiction books long ago. It just would not be nearly as cool and interactive. Studies from the 1950s showed many engineers and scientists were inspired by science fiction and if those SF books contained accurate science then wouldn’t they do very similar things for children as NELL software running on tablets?
http://onlinelibrary.wiley (dot) com/doi/10 (dot) 1002/sce (dot) 3730430106/abstract
So why wasn’t this done long ago and why aren’t people talking about STEM today suggesting sci-fi reading now?
PS - The spam filter is a pain in the ass. I could not put in 4 links so they would work. I had to put in that (dot) crap.