WALKING on stage with Sheppard's smash hit Geronimo blasting through the speakers, Sugata Mitra gets the rockstar welcome fitting for a man of his influence. Opening this year's EduTECH conference with a keynote to 3500 enthusiastic and innovative educators, Mitra warms the room with his endearing and witty personality. While promising not to become too repetitive by talking solely about his now infamous 'Hole in the Wall' experiment, Mitra assures the audience he will shed some new light on the research, to ensure a worthwhile experience for both those who have never heard of him before, and his most adoring of fans in the crowd. He begins by sharing various images of scenarios throughout history and how the education system accommodated those people. Mitra says that traditional education simply taught people to obey instructions, not to be creative. "Schools with their military – industrial- religious origins are outdated and obsolete," reads the quote that flashes on the screen behind him. Mitra then goes on to explain to the uninitiated (although it certainly feels like there aren't many in the audience), what the Hole in the Wall is, why he did it and the how it changed his life forever. During the initial experiment, which was first conducted in 1999, Mitra discovered that children in the rural slums of India, who had mostly never seen a computer before, were capable of teaching themselves everything from character mapping to DNA replication all on their own Mitra poses the question: "Are they a lot cleverer, these poor children, than we thought?" Through his subsequent research and the data that was collected, Mitra found that children left unsupervised with the internet for nine months had the same computer skills as trained secretaries from Western countries. Teachers in India also noticed a change in their students after they experimented with the computer.  All of a sudden, the students were producing work in perfect English. The teachers asked Mitra, 'how can the Hole in the Wall do that?' Through further investigation, Mitra found that the clever youngsters were in fact typing their homework into a search engine that was subsequently reproducing their work for them. "The children started quoting the Harvard Business Review," Mitra tells the audience who respond with bouts of laughter. Interestingly, The Hole in the Wall experiment has not only had a profound effect on education, but it has left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup apparently read about Mitra's experiment and was inspired to write a novel, which later became the movie Slumdog Millionaire. At EduTECH this year, perhaps the most poignant message of Mitra's presentation is that despite the economic circumstances or the conditions in which the students lived, they enjoyed connecting with the technology – it was fun for them! It therefore encouraged them to be inquisitive and persistent, in working out how to best use the computer for their various personal interests. For a man that calls himself an 'accidental educator', it's clear from the rousing applause that Mitra gets from the audience at EduTECH 2014, that he is in fact an extraordinary man with extraordinary ideas.   Sugata Mitra will be presenting a masterclass on June 5 from 9.00am – 4.00pm.