Almost a quarter of a century ago, Hitachi announced that it had developed the first memory chip capable of holding 1 MB of data. This sounds like a pittance now, but at the time, it was revolutionary! 1 MB of data is actually one million bits (1 MB) of information, and truthfully speaking, the cost of the chip was too high for most practical applications of it.
Two decades later, and you can get a one terabyte drive (one million MB!) for about $50. The cost of one gigabyte of storage on a computer has gone from around $700,000 in the 1980s to (almost) free today! Our phones routinely have upwards of 16 GB of space on them. Our emails no longer have space or size limitations like they did when email first came out (remember when you got those emails that you were running out of storage?!). The progress has been nothing short of incredible. At the time, no one knew for sure whether it was ever going to be possible for 1 MB of data to be made cheaply and well – at least to the extent necessary for it to be commercially and personally available. If the inventors and backers who created the technology that went into this chip had thought about costs alone, the 1 MB chip would never have been invented. In short – at its inception – the computer chip was not a cost effective endeavor.
But people did endeavor. And we’re glad they did. Because of them, our Mwabu tablets can come loaded with thousands of lessons, lesson plans, and resources that serve our students and communities every day. Because of them, laptops from across our five clusters are able to send dozens of reports each month to our head office in NYC. Because of them, our 6,000 students have the opportunity to learn and can receive a quality education. Costs cannot be the only driver to future innovation, but let’s make sure their investment is worth it today!