The Case of the Occasionally Cheap Computer: Low-cost Devices and Classrooms in the Developing Regions

Joyojeet Pal, Rabin Patra, Sergiu Nedevschi, Madelaine Plauche, Udai Singh Pawar


The quest for the low-cost computer has been one of the most significant pursuits of ICTD since the 1990s. This article examines the experiences of low-cost computing projects in developing regions and looks at some of the common entrepreneurial and technical problems faced by past and current initiatives. Focusing specifically on the domain of education, we look at the quest for low-cost devices and consider their economic and socio-cultural appropriateness to the typical classroom in the developing world. Using field studies and interviews conducted in rural Indian classrooms, we show that shared rather than single-user devices constitute a more realistic and sustainable approach for low-cost computing projects targeting children’s education.


developing regions; low-cost devices; ICTD; children's education

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