I-slate, a low-cost learning tool designed for classrooms, is under joint development by hardware experts at Rice University (Singapore) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL) and a US-based design team.
As part of a pilot programme, these entities have already provided 30 tablets to school children in two government schools in Mahaboobnagar district. “We have been studying the user experience for the last three years. We will be coming out with a detailed paper,” Krishna Palem, a professor at both Rice and NTU, and part of the I-slate team, told Business Line.
NTU and ViDAL plan to introduce 50,000 tablets for children in one of the poorest districts in India in the next three years. With the introduction of I-slate, the primary goal is to replace hand-held slates and chalk used by millions of Indian school children in rural areas.
The device originated from Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID), a joint programme of Rice University and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Krishna Palem, director, ISAID, earlier said, "Our study clearly shows the I-slate is an effective learning tool for all students, regardless of their learning ability. The first production I-slates will be pre-loaded with lessons for mathematics, science and social studies."
In bulk, these tablets will cost around $30-40 from vendors. NTU and ViDAL would be responsible for the content that goes into these tablets.
The chips used in I-slate are designed in collaboration with Switzerland's Center For Electronics And Microtechnology. The solar-powered mechanism of the device will function like a solar-panel seen on most modern calculators.
The I-slate prototype runs Google's Android operating system. However, the final version of the device due in mid-2012 will require a new OS. LinuxDevices earlier reported, "Presumably, the replacement OS will also be based on Linux, but will be tailored for a processor being developed specifically for the final tablet."