Cheapest Tablet Ever Could Change Online Education
You’ve probably heard about One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). It was a brilliant education idea that was hindered by high laptop costs and usage rules, but more importantly frozen by a technology revolution that moved faster than OLPC could keep pace with. It was this technology revolution that now provides us with a new question – what are we trying next? The answer could be a new tablet. One that is extremely low-cost and offers many of the basic tools needed for online learning is currently available; however, it’s only in India (for now).
Aakash 2, which means “blue sky” in Hindi, is only $40, and sold to Indian students at half that cost, $20 – making it one of the cheapest tablets ever made. In fact, the government sees so much potential, it wants a tablet in the hands of every student, 220 million in total. The Indian government is also connecting 600 universities and 1,200 colleges with broadband and Wi-Fi for increased use in the coming years. So maybe the sky is blue for this device.
Based on reviews, the Aakash 2 works on the Android operating system, offers long battery life (unlike the never launched Aakash 1), and provides reasonable speed for videos, games, and other applications. So, could this replace the textbook, note pad,and even the calculator for online learning? Maybe.
As tablets become more and more common in education – as seen in the United States, where wealthy schools shift from textbooks to tablets – a cheaper option may allow a larger population to join in. Suneet Tuli, CEO of Datawind, the maker of Aakash 2, stated that, “I get school boards and schools from the US and Canada regularly calling us up, asking for devices. Inner-city schools say to us, ‘It’s not just a problem over there – 40% of our kids don’t have access to PCs and the Internet.’”
If costs can stay low and innovation can continue to grow, this tablet from India could be just the start of changing the basic standards of online learning and education.