Read more about this experiment along with other thoughts on young children teaching themselves to use technology at When Tablet Turns Teacher by Gillian Tett in FT Magazine.
The unofficial results so far from the Ethiopian study are very interesting and thought provoking, with all kinds of possible implications for education and aid. If nothing else, it seems to me to indicate that we could dramatically jump-start children's education just by providing them with cell phones or tablets before they enter school. And it reinforces the idea of letting children use laptops in unstructured settings.
While finances prevent L2L from providing every child with a cell phone or tablet, we might want to consider refocusing our energy on the laptop lending library and less on classroom instruction, at least for the youngest children.
I welcome your comments and thoughts.