I’ve been reading in a number of places lately about different projects involving tablets and education. There are a variety of startups targeting this space. The Learning X-Prize is activating significant intellectual fire power in this direction and the technology costs continue to drop.
One thing we saw with the OLPC experiment was that just providing technology was not enough to radically change educational outcomes. Teachers often didn’t know how to integrate the laptops into their lesson plans, and there were few technicians who could trouble-shoot simple technical problems.
I feel there is a big opportunity coming for people who can provide a full service tablet experience for kids. Purchasing the tablets, getting them configured with the right set of apps, keeping them charged and functional, designing activities around them, helping kids navigate and trouble shoot.
Tablet coaches could be like traveling music teachers who visit schools on a regular schedule, bring their collection of gear, run kids through a bunch of exercises, and then disappear. This is basically how the first Jaaga Study school interaction is shaping up to be.
If the kids spent more time with the tablet coaches I expect they would tackle more of the mainstream curriculum. The coaches would help students define their learning goals help them past challenges they face on the way. At this point the coach is almost a teacher in a flipped classroom. I would like to get experience engaging at this level, but I’m not sure how short of starting or taking over a school…