Nicholas Negroponte Welcomes India's $35 Tablet for Education

   
   
   
   
   

Last week, India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal spoke of the possibilities for a $35 tablet for Indian students. In response, Nicholas published the open letter below in the Times of India. You can read it also in Spanish, French, and German.

One Laptop per Child applauds Minister Kapil Sibal for promoting a $35 tablet. Education is the primary solution to eliminating poverty, saving the environment and creating world peace. Access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning. We agree with you completely.


Nicholas Negroponte of OLPC

Please consider this open letter OLPC's pledge to provide India with free and open access to all of our technology, and our experience with 2 million laptops, in over 40 countries, in over 25 languages. As a humanitarian and charitable organization, we do not compete. We collaborate, and invite you to do so, too.

In the meantime, let me offer the following six suggestions:

  1. Focus on children 6 to 12 years old. They are your nation's most precious natural resource.  For primary school children, the tablet is not about computing or school, it is about hope. It makes passion the primary tool for learning.
  2. Your tablet should be the death of rote learning, not the tool of it. A creative society is built not on memorizing facts, but by learning learning itself. Drill and practice is a mechanism of the industrial age, when repetition and uniformity were systemic. The digital age is one of personalization, collaboration and appropriation. OLPC's approach to learning is called constructionism. We hope you adopt it too.
  3. Tablets are indeed the future. OLPC announced its own eight months ago. However, caution is needed with regard to one aspect of tablets: learning is not media consumption. It is about making things. The iPad is a consumptive tool by design. OLPC urges that you not make mistake.
  4. Hardware is simple. Less obvious is ruggedness, sunlight readability and low power. We use solar power because our laptop is by far the lowest power laptop on the planet. But do not overlook human power - hand cranking and other things that kids can do at night or when it rains. Just solar would be a mistake. Rugged means water resistant and droppable from 10 feet onto a stone floor.
  5. Software is harder. Linux is obvious, but whatever you do, do not make it a special purpose device with only a handful of functions. It must be a general purpose computer upon which the whole world can build software, invent applications and do programming. We know that when children program they come the closest to thinking about thinking. When they debug, they are learning about learning. This is key.
  6. More than anything, of all the unsolicited advice I have to offer, the most important and most likely to be overlooked is good industrial design. Make an inexpensive tablet, not a cheap one. Make it desirable, lovable and fun to own. Take a page from Apple on this, maybe from OLPC too. Throw the best design teams in India behind it.

India is so big that you risk being satisfied with your internal market. Don't. The world needs your device and leadership. Your tablet is not an "answer" or "competitor" to OLPC's XO laptop. It is a member of a family dedicated to creating peace and prosperity through the transformation of education. In closing, I repeat my offer: full access to all of our technology, cost free. I urge you to send a team to MIT and OLPC at your earliest convenience so we can share our results with you.

Nicholas Negroponte
Founder and Chairman
One Laptop per Child Foundation
Cambridge, Massachusetts
USA

This was first published as Welcome: $35 Tablet for Education

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2 Comments

It doesn't surprise me that olpc is supporting India's $35 educational computer. A lot of people think NN started olpc in order to become a new Michael Dell and sell millions of computers. Actually, the purpose of olpc is to promote education in the developing world. The XO is just a means, and it was developed because nothing suitable was being produced. Having other parties producing cheap educational computers will just make it easier for olpc's goals to be achieved.

How would someone include such a place as Kan Camaroon for the XO computer or the India tablet. I am a member of St Regis Catholic Church in Bloomfield MI and this is our sister church in Kan Camaroon.

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  • Oh, come on Michael. Do you really think anything that was said on OLPC News would have had much …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

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  • Hi!

    I bought 2 "Tablets OLPC." I had to return because the two did not work. O …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h05/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on Guest Post: My XO Tablet Technical Review and First Impressions

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h05/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

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  • Bonjour Mokifisi!
    Je suis bien d'accord avec vous. Je travaille depuis 4 ans dans un petit …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • You just follow the same route upstream how you got the 2XO Tablets? How did you get them? Bring …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • └ quelle adresse envoyer mes deux XOTablet qui ne fonctionnent pas?

    At what address to s …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • That's called "Death on arrivals". They happen. That's why there's always some additio …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggest …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

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  • Voici mon message en franšais...

    Bonjour,
    Je viens d'acheter 2 tablettes XO. Les d …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

    Comment on Goodbye One Laptop per Child

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  • OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting a …

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