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An Open Discussion – Your Input Needed

Wayan Vota

This month on the Educational Technology Debate we are opening up the discussion to our readership. We are actively seeking quality posts on topics of interest to you. You can write on a future topic or topics we haven’t thought of yet. We will publish the best six over the course of the month for your commentary.

If you would like to submit a post, please follow the general ETD format. Posts should be at least 300+ words (no maximum) stating your learned opinion, backed with links, photographs, and videos (if possible). Posts can be written in any text editor, but should be original, unpublished work.

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5 Responses to “An Open Discussion – Your Input Needed”

  1. Stan Doore

    Tablet PCs should be the primry focus for improved education since tablet PCs can replace textbooks.
    Tablet PCs have profound learning and teaching capabilities because they can have animation, video clips, graphics and other interactive materials and capabilities which static and bulky textbooks and classroom lectures do not.
    AND, tablet PCs will cost less than current methods and supplies for teaching and learning.
    Also, tablet PCs can be used any time in any place on any path at the user's own pace.
    G Stanley Doore
    Silver Spring MD

  2. The think client model is now a reality, using cheaper android tablets (unbranded/clones) and wiFi with the cloud model for online data storage. Software as a service becomes an app which runs on Html5 in the browser. There will always be a trickle down effect, the more expensive and flashier trendsetters such as Apple will be adopted by those who can afford them, leading to increase in demand as the market makes cheaper alternatives. All IOS (Apple) devices can now run PC operating systems and software on them (natively through bootcamp or emulators) or through virtual machines as well as remote screen controllers, even through the internet. Think about an android tablet (cheap model), using an app through wifi to access a pc frontend (windows 7/8 ?) through the cloud, just as is possible now with the HTC and the iPhone. This allows many students and educators at remote locations to use GPRS bucket packages or wifi to access their own desktops. I am sure ubuntu desktops with remove login or a windows implementation can be done too, through optimized code. The HTC smartphones (desire series) are as strong as a laptop and can do as much on them, the cost is a limiting factor which, through time, technology and production, will pass on its benefits to the masses. The key here is developing countries who are trial testing cheaper indigenous developed tablets, such as the Indian ones here http://androidadvices.com/cheapest-android-tablet
    and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGEDizaWX0k this one is US $ 30 and seems to be the game changer. We here in Pakistan (due to political reasons etc) cannot openly communicate or trade with our neighbors in India (@!#!@# politics), but they are doing the right thing for their people (from what i can make out of the youtube video). Cheers.

  3. As long as we are talking about products that have been announced but are not available, we should compare the LACS tablets running the Android smartphone OS, promised at $35 in India only, with the OLPC XO-3 running Fedora Linux, promised at $75 worldwide. The LACS tablets have 7 or 8 in. screens, while the current thinking on the XO-3 calls for a 10 in. screen.

    Sugar Labs is thinking about how to port its Sugar education software to Android, but has not done so. Is there anything comparable to Sugar for Android now?

    Also, Android does not in general support rendering of Unicode for complex scripts, including all Indic scripts. Do LACS tablets only run in English and European languages? That is all I see in the product photos. A Google search for Unicode on the lacs.co.in site turns up nothing. Ah, wait, it's in a PDF! OK, it says English, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, but it still doesn't show any screens, and there is no product literature in those languages. Well, we'll see.

    Fedora Linux (and all other major Linux distributions) supports all major (official national) modern writing systems except Mongolian, which the Mongols have been working on, particularly in their own Soyombo Linux. This includes the ten writing systems (including Latin alphabet) of the 22 scheduled languages of India, with the ability to write many more.

    How much does mobile phone access to the Internet cost in India? LACS tablets do not have WiFi, and must use phone connections.

  4. Ecosystems of technology using re-purposed or hacked technology, reverse engineered from commercially available models to provide solutions to the masses are not new. In 2004 in Pakistan, a company called nobel popped up, they bought all the commonly available 14 inch refurbished computer monitors that they could find. They also purchased the chinese DANY tv conversion kits, which are used to convert a computer monitor to a tv (with remote and built-in speakers). Nobel took the 14 inch throwaway monitors, joined them to the DANY kits, used another chinese plastic tv cover, put everything in it, and sold their product as a nobel tv. They had bought so many monitors that they were able to provide 1 year warranty and repair service too. Within an year, a law had to be passed against them, since the entire tv industry collapsed, no one bought the more expensive regular brands (in the common man tv category) and nobel made their millions, wrapped up and disappeared into the sunset. The moral from this story is that devices can be reverse engineered with a bit of creativity. We all know what happened the day steve wozniak took a few microchips from radioshack, and hacked together the first Apple Macintosh in his garage, something that IBM could not think of in their prime. The chinese are doing mass production of every kind of microchip and churning out mp4 players, ebook readers, smart phones, tablets and advanced modular electronics. Instead of ‘creating a new system’ or a ‘new dedicated category’ of devices such as the OLPC, I hope such manufacturers start using commonly available cheap components and hack together a cheap common man tablet with modules, i.e. a module for wifi (with an associated cost), a module for gprs internet (with an additional cost) etc, with the most basic tablet able to read materials from a usb or memory card, able to read pdf files, type msword files, with a basic camera, microphone and speakers.
    The atom processor from intel has taken a beating from the ARM processor for the cheaper chinese MID compliant android tablets. I had a talk with the Intel sales head in pakistan, they said intel is putting everything they have into the tablet industry, or ARM might just muscle a market share that could become impenetrable soon, with the help of the chinese manufacturers.


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