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Education Handhelds Intel Hardware Technology

Intel Aims 'One Tablet Per Child' Program at Developing Countries 93

retroworks writes "Digitimes Reports that 'Intel is set to push a tablet PC product codenamed StudyBook to target emerging markets. ... The StudyBook tablet PC will feature a 10-inch panel with Intel's Medfield platform and adopt dual-operating systems and will target the emerging markets such as China and Brazil. .. The StudyBook tablet PC will be released in the second half of 2012. ... Intel also hopes to push the product into regular retail channels priced below US$299.' Will this be another 'OLPC' disappointment, or is it starting to look very tough for the traditional school book industry?"
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Intel Aims 'One Tablet Per Child' Program at Developing Countries

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  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:46PM (#39612949)
    They will still be able to charge stupidly high prices, because you HAVE to get it, but they will eliminate shipping and printing costs. They just need to get the schools on board to give them lists of students, and they sue anyone who didn't buy it via approved channels.
  • Wrong problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:50PM (#39612973) Homepage

    The textbook companies love digital because they can control it and prevent resale. I bought a copy of the textbook my classroom uses for all of about $8 off Amazon. It's something like $100 new. If it were digital only, you can't buy used.

    If you want to usurp the textbook companies, you need to start providing cheap, community generated alternatives. Plenty of teachers already ignore the textbooks for the most part. There's no reason Intel and other companies couldn't provide free digital content for various topics that individual schools can then assemble to fit their curriculum.

    I'm currently working Khan Academy where appropriate into my classroom so students are more motivated to use it on their own time. But ultimately, I'd like to replace every chapter in the book with free alternative resources that teachers can use. "Infinite Math" is a really slick program that doesn't cost much that can generate problems for many levels of math which takes care of in class practice, homework and tests.

  • Fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:59PM (#39613029)
    Because "One Computer Per Child" worked so well, we're going to follow up on it with another, similar initiative? I've got a better idea: How about we build some sewers, electricity, get them some running water, and then setup some better agricultural facilities (read: big farms!), and when that's done, some factories and office buildings for them to work in? Then, with the money they make, they can not only purchase things like tablet pcs, but clothes, food, education, and health care.

    Sigh. Every one of these initiatives fail because people assume access to technology will make people more educated, and education leads to a better life. The problem is, that's not true. What leads to a better life is taking care of basic survival needs sufficiently to allow the local population time to pursue those things. Our industrial civilization evolved away from an aquarian civilization because of advancements in certain key technologies. Tablets were not one of those technologies.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:11PM (#39613105) Homepage

    now its one tablet. Wait, do they both? Or do the kids get to pick which one they want more?

    It's just one $New_Shiny per child^Hpoor-kid-that-we-can-use-to-extort-money-from-a-government.

    That's the generically correct form for how this will play out. $New_Shiny can be a smartphone, tablet, laptop or Furby. Whatever some large company is trying to stuff down the third world consumption channel.

    As usual, it has little to do with children, education, improving mankind or anything else other than PR and profit. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Re:Fail. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Bokma ( 834313 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:14PM (#39613117) Homepage
    It's still a silly idea. I live in Mexico, and here still a lot of children can't go to school for the simple reason that they have to help their family with staying alive. How is a tablet going to fix that? I often read "with a tablet they can learn about better farming methods, etc.". If that's the case, why can't they learn such things now? To me projects like this sound too much like "Every major village needs a McDonalds so people can have access to healty fast food". Right!
  • Re:Fail. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tunapez ( 1161697 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:17PM (#39613131)

    They fail because, unlike your alternative suggestions, a better life is not the objective. Despite what the marketing team would like you to believe, the true objective is to score/create new consumers in new markets.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:20PM (#39613151) Journal
    It's hard not to be pessimistic about this scheme. I'm sure that Intel has the engineering muscle and the cash to at least shove some units out the door(if not actually hit their targeted TDPs and battery lives) and the hardware might even be an interesting alternative to some of the present ARM SoC tablets at a similar price point; but that won't really solve the basic problem:

    Actually turning computers into educational results, even in the wealthy subsections of wealthy industrialized countries where access to computers has been ubiquitous for a number of years now, has turned out to be difficult. Not necessarily impossible(and certainly a boon for the nonzero-but-hard-to-replicate autodidactic success stories); but definitely not obvious, and generally not happening in places where reasonable amounts of educational success were already being achieved by conventional methods.

    It is likely that digital distribution technologies will, at some point in the reasonably near future, firmly undercut print on total price(ie. counting the units needed to read the stuff, and the infrastructure, not just the marginal cost of somebody with a computer and an internet connection snarfing Project Gutenberg), which would be a boon to anybody who has plans for producing material that don't involve paying substantial per-unit license fees; but that only brings computers to parity with print(also, it is fairly likely that sub-$100 e-ink or super-cheapy LCD devices will undercut on price well before fancy tablets do).

    Shipping aggressively cheap and robust hardware is certainly a nontrivial engineering challenge, and a necessary condition of any educating-the-poor-with-computers plan; but we already have a test case, wealthy denizens of the developed world, where the hardware and infrastructure exist and we've been able to watch the pedagogical techniques and software in action. The results have not been... overly encouraging...
  • Quote from SJ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#39613217)

    This is a pertinent quote from Steve Jobs on this OLPC-like programs which end up failing every time.

    I used to think that technology could help education. I've probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I've had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What's wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.

    It's a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical.

    So yeah, good luck to Intel.

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