One Laptop Per Child supports India's $35 tablet PC -

The founder of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) scheme has congratulated the Indian government on its $35 tablet PC and has offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology.

The $35 tablet PC was announced by the government last month, however at the time, the government had not yet found a manufacturer.

In an open letter to Minister Kapil Sibal, Nicholas Negroponte said the tablet was a key piece in educating and "eliminating poverty, saving the environment and creating world peace". Unless your neighbour only has $34 dollars and mugs you for it. He suggested access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning.

Mr Negroponte also gave the Indian government some advice in how to deploy the tablet, listing six suggestions, which he thought it should take note of. He told the government it should firstly focus on children from the ages of six to 12 as they are the "nation’s most precious natural resource."

He said for primary school children, the tablet was not about computing or school, it was about hope. "It makes passion the primary tool for learning," he wrote.

Secondly he said that the tablet should be "the death of rote learning, not the tool of it.

"A creative society is built not on memorising facts, but by learning learning itself. Drill and practice is a mechanism of the industrial age, when repetition and uniformity were systemic. The digital age is one of personalization, collaboration and appropriation. OLPC’s approach to learning is called constructionism. We hope you adopt it too." 

He also said that although he believes tablets are the future, caution will be needed with regard to one aspect of tablets and this is that "learning is not media consumption. It is about making things".  
He told the government that it had to consider ruggedness, readability and low power as well as what software it would use.

Mr Negroponte, who has apparently been promoted to global education minister without anyone getting the memo, also said to India: "Linux is obvious, but whatever you do, do not make it a special purpose device with only a handful of functions. It must be a general purpose computer upon which the whole world can build software, invent applications and do programming. We know that when children program they come the closest to thinking about thinking. When they debug, they are learning about learning. This is key."

The $35 tablet PC was announced by the government last month, however at the time, the government had not yet found a manufacturer.