Solar Powered Open Education Library in a Box

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Solar Powered Open Education Library in a Box

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

I want to put thousands of open education materials available on the internet and those developed by trained local teachers base on their curriculum in the hands of students and teachers mainly in communities were textbooks, electricity, internet, Pcs, and science labs are libraries are lacking.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Many students and teachers in the developing world lack access to basic textbooks, electricity, computers, and science labs in schools. Due to this situation, students and teachers with potentials to become the next great innovators cannot fully take advantage of these potentials. The governments of these countries in most cases, lack the knowledge and resources to help though corruption and other political issues are sometimes the root cause.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

My solution is in three folds; One is to develop a "Solar Powered Open Education Library in a Box" and two is to provide free tablets to students and teachers to access, download and store the content in the library for 24/7 use anywhere. Third is to train teachers how to create open education content base on their local curriculum and upload such content in the library for consumption by students. The server is a small, rugged, fan-less, solar optimized low power computer server running Ubuntu Server and using a 500GB solid state Hard Drive and 4GB of RAM. It will host a web Server, Wireless AccessPoint and Internet Cache Proxy Server software. Portal solar system will double as power source for the server and charging station for tablets
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Lets consider a developing country named 'A' whose Ministry of Education has welcomed the idea and obtained funding to have selected teachers trained on how to develop open education textbooks and record lectures for the server. Country 'A' funds the deployment of at least one "Solar Powered Open Education Library in a Box" in each school and subsidize the cost of each customized tablets for students and teachers to make it affordable for all. Each school will require that students buy the subsidized tablet and that the tablet is brought to school each day for charging and new content. The teachers will require students to read and watch specific chapters as assignments daily. Every student will have the same chances of success

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The impact will be measurable through statistics. In Sierra Leone where I intend to pilot the project, the failure rate of students in the West African Examination Council Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) increases every year. As a matter of fact, the Government of Sierra Leone, in 2008 add one extra year to Senior Secondary School Education with the hope that it will increase the pass rate. My solution will increase the pass rate of student in these exams because the local content will be based on these exam curriculums. I anticipate there will be an increase of 5% in the first year, 10% in the second year and more than 20% in the third year in schools that have deployed the system for use by Junior and senior secondary students. See: http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200522075.shtml for more info.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Because the server is low powered using between 10Watts and 20Watts and it being powered with solar energy and 12 volt batteries, there is no doubt it will be sustainable compared to AC powered solutions. More than 80% of our target beneficiaries are without grid power. Where its available, its not affordable and reliable. The ruggedness of the server, use of solid state hard drives and fan-less configuration reduce maintenance on the PC.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The eGranary Digital Library - also known as "The Internet in a Box" - provides millions of digital educational resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access. Mindset Network a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2002 is providing educational solutions for the formal education and health sectors in South Africa. The major difference here are; power source, power consumption of computers used, scalability and mobility access. We want to put the materials in the hands of students and teachers on tablets that will be with them 24/7 and can be used whenever they want.
Team

Founding Story

The problems started when seven university students in Sierra Leone asked me to help them complete their final year projects. They were unable to get help from the university and their industrial attachment supervisors. Their projects ranged from Infrastructure Networking, Computer Graphics, and Programming to Website developments for the colleges and Sierratel. I found out from them and their lecturers that access to technology and learning materials is a big problem. I visited few other schools to confirm the story and I had nothing to do but find a solution. I also read online articles and check statistical data on the pass rate of students in the West African Examination Council exams. None of them were encouraging. So I had to do it.

Comments

What do you think about the solution presented here. Do you think solutions like this can leapfrog in the West where there electricity and access to basic educational materials and the internet is not a luxury for students and teachers compared to those living in developing countries?

A “Solar Powered Open Education Library in a Box” is a complete plug and play, ICT system that includes an Aleutia custom manufactured ultra low-power server, low power Wi-Fi Access Point, 3G Wireless Router, Ubuntu Server, Linux Apache MYSQL and PHP (LAMP) Server, Adaptable and offline Web and Mobile Library Application, Portable Solar System, Portable and researchable LED Projector, and 50 tablets. Its considered in a box simply because everything is included in one package that’s ready to deploy.

The “Solar Power Open Education Library in a box” will provide offline access to thousands of open education resources already available on the internet and those created by trained local teachers in Sierra Leone base on the WAEC and MEST curriculum to students, teachers, school administrators, and researchers mainly in communities were access to electricity, standard computers, school science laboratories, school computer laboratories, public libraries, and textbooks, and internet access are scares, unaffordable, unreliable, unsustainable or not existing at all.

“Solar Power Open Education Library in a box” is much more sustainable compared to similar solutions in that It is a plug and play system, which includes the following components; one Aleutia custom manufactured ultra low-power server (Intel Core i3-32174 64-bits CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD), networking components (Ubiquity Nano Station and cables) and all the necessary software to serve open education resources in a browser or on a mobile device. The server includes thousands of open education resources downloaded from the Internet plus those content created by trained local teachers in Sierra Leone base on the WAEC and MEST curriculum. A Portable LED Projector (Brook stone compact, 85-Lumen LED Projector) is included for group presentation, video camera included to record lectures and 10 and 40 tablets for teachers and students to take home respectively. A portable solar system (Upgraded Solar2Africa) will also be included to power the server, network component and charge the tablets. The tablets will be stored in optional tablet storage and charging cabinet (Anthro Tablet Charging Cart, 40 Unit). The server can function well using the following alternative deployment approaches, which are not part of the box solution;

The governments of these countries in most cases, lack the knowledge and resources to help though corruption and other political issues are sometimes the root cause. Acer E3-111-C0WA

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