In 2008, Uruguay was the first country in the world to provide one laptop to every primary-school student as part of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project. The project successfully distributed 395,000 laptops to 2332 public schools in the country. The OLPC mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education by providing them with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. The OLPC believes “access to this tool engages children in their own education” to “learn, share, and create together. They become connected to each other and the world.
XO-1, the OLPC laptop
In keeping with this theme, India released the Sakshat Tablet, a $30 USD tablet for students and teachers in colleges and universities. According to the Sakshat website the device is currently not available for sale. The government has decided to launch it for students this year at 504 universities and 25,000 colleges. India’s National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology is supporting the project to enable more students with technology.
Recently, South Korea announced a government backed initiative to replace all textbooks with interactive e-books. The Ministry of Education Science and Technology has set aside $2.2 billion to create a digital learning environment and convert to 100% digital textbooks by 2015. The plan is to develop a library of digital textbooks containing interactive text and multimedia content and develop online classrooms for students who are falling behind. The program will provide every school child with a free tablet and digitized textbooks.
Argentina, Colombia and Peru, among other countries, have similar projects to deliver digital education for their students.
Different countries, different approaches, but all with the same goal: to deliver education to the future generation with digital tools. Why now and why digital?
These countries prove digital devices must have an investment, either from public or private resources, in order to implement digitization on such a large scale. Revolution in education is a process, one that requires parents and teachers to create new programs for learning development. When children are able to learn through connected and interactive technology, they have the ability to fully participate in their education. Technology has the power to remove limitations to information access and learning opportunities.
Panarea Digital is very excited to be part of this next generation of education and empowerment of children throughout the world.