Aakash $35 tablet: pedagogical affordances and investment advice

Teemu Leinonen, FLOSSE Posse, Nov 08, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Teemu Leinonen reviews the $35 tablet computer on sale in India, and though I haven't used the computer myself, I'm not really sure I can endorse his recommendations. His main complaint about the tablet is that it wasn't designed with a pedagogical purpose. "From [a] research (or innovation) point of view," he writes, "I do not find it very interesting. Aakash is just a cheap tablet." Well, yes. That was the point. Now there may well be room for significant improvements - a capacitive touchscreen, for example, rather than a resistive one. Does that impair the user experience so as to render the phone unusable? I don't know. But assuming it doesn't, I don't think I would endorse Leinonen to poorer school districts that they just sit and wait. Students don't wait - they grow and develop without regard to the computer futures market. You have to do the best you can for them now - and in my mind, the $35 tablets represent the best, not paper and pencil.
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