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Low-Cost Electronic Tablet Proves Worth in Indian Classroom


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Krishna Palem

I-slate tablet creator Krishna Palem

Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Researchers at Rice and Nanyang Technological universities, working at the Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID), are preparing for full-scale production of the low-cost I-slate electronic tablet.

The I-slate, an electronic version of the handheld blackboard slates used by millions of Indian children, will eventually be solar-powered for use in classrooms that lack electricity. It is expected to cost less than $50.

"Our study clearly shows the I-slate is an effective learning tool for all students, regardless of their learning ability," says ISAID director Krishna Palem. "The first production I-slates will be pre-loaded with lessons for mathematics, science, and social studies."

The researchers worked with India's Villages for Development and Learning Foundation to test the I-slate last summer. The ISAID analyzed each student's performance and improvement, and tests and surveys confirmed the I-slate was effective and provided the researchers with valuable information needed to finalize the I-slate's design, according to Palem.

The hardware and graphic content will rely on a new low-power computer chip, which will cut the power requirements for the I-slate in half and allow the device to run on solar power from panels similar to those found on handheld calculators.

From Rice University
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