Monday, October 09, 2006

Kenya pilots handheld education

From BBC Report: "... a trial project using handheld computers could help reduce the costs of education in poor communities... Mbita Point, on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, hosts a small rural community. A few minutes walk from the main town lies the local primary school, housed on the campus of a renowned research institute.

As the only school in the area with access to electricity, Mbita Primary enjoys a relatively privileged location. This aside, it suffers from the same problems encountered by other public schools. Classrooms are crowded, and the all-too-familiar scenario of children sharing outdated textbooks is still very much in evidence.

However, in Class Five, things are just a little bit different. Fifty-four 11-year-old students are willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary experiment aimed at using technology to deliver education across the continent. In the Eduvision pilot project, textbooks are out, customised Pocket PCs, referred to as e-slates, are very much in.

They are wi-fi enabled and run on licence-free open source software to keep costs down. "The e-slates contain all the sorts of information you'd find in a textbook and a lot more," said Eduvision co-founder Maciej Sudra.

- BBC Report
- Eduvision

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