Can you imagine learning to read without electricity? Sure, many did before utility-scale power became widely available… but many more didn’t. Electric light, and now internet access, can make the difference between orality and literacy, and the ability to engage with the rest of world through even the simplest information technology. But that doesn’t mean building a power grid in remote area: a simple solar tablet computer may be all that’s necessary to provide kids with the opportunity to read… and, thus, discover the wider world.
Our sister site Solar Love shared the story of a project spearheaded by Tufts University and MIT that did just this… and only this. Participants dropped off a load of solar-powered tablets in a remote Ethiopian village, and stood back to watch what happened. You’ll see in the post below that the results were pretty amazing and inspiring.
I haven’t heard the term leapfrogging in quite some time, but this is yet another example of it… and small-scale technology is even allowing people in impoverished parts of the world to jump over straight power production in favor of sun-powered hand-held devices. Obviously, power generation is necessary for many things, so I’m guessing we’ll see a combination of these developments connecting the world’s poor with the more fortunate areas of the globe.
Got thoughts on handing kids a tablet, and letting them run with it? Share them…