The Challenge

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How might we increase the availability of affordable learning tools & services for students in the developing world? read the brief

Idea

One computer per block

Technology is almost impossible given the low-affordability restrictions. How do we get past that and enable locals to have access to the greatest resource humankind has ever invented: the internet.
One laptop per child might be a bit ambitious (and cost prohibitive) but what about starting out with one computer per block?


Let's create a self-contained, self-powering computer that sits in a public location, easily accessibly by all. It's solar powered, durable, has access to the internet via satellite and has a sign up list to allow all to use it in a timely, orderly fashion.
Who would implement this?
  1. A big company
  2. A local entrepreneur or small organization
  3. A globally-based social entrepreneur
  4. NGOs and Foundations
  5. I would!
  6. I don’t really know
Cost
A computer per person is unreasonable. Being able to power those computers and enable them with internet access is even more unreasonable. This is a unit that is a) durable [steel and bulletproof plexiglass] b) self-sufficient [solar powered, remote access to fix basic problems] c) connected [satellite or wifi access]. Granted, this isn't the most cost-efficient of ideas - people will have to pay for internet access. If an alliance could be achieved with a local ISP, the problems would be solved. Other than that, donations for individuals or organizations would aid the cause.
Distribution & Delivery
This concept has a bit more up-front thought process. How do we make it solar powered? How do we make it durable? What are the optimal locations? All of these variables are attributed to the acceptance of the technology. However, the positive trait is that this idea doesn't fall under the traditional paradigm of a "school". It's simply allowing access to the world's greatest knowledge base without any cost. Imagine if every student could be taught to use the internet and complete homework in the process...
Adoption
The presence of an in-public object like the one illustrated would be similar to a post-box - it's in the open, visible and different. It would promote itself. In addition, school teachers would provide homework that could only be completed by accessing one of these kiosks - further instilling that this technology is essential for this generation and generations to come.
Local Need. Enterprising Schools has identified key areas of need for Affordable Private Schools. What local learning need(s) does this concept address?
  1. English language learning (speaking, reading, writing)
  2. Math learning
  3. Libraries
  4. Tech literacy
  5. Professional development
  6. Other

Comments

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smriti mehrotra

September 14, 2010, 06:10AM
this might be helpful in building the idea further, http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/

Janus Basnov

September 12, 2010, 10:53AM
Hi Keane,

I think this is pretty spot on - the internet will help us do much of what we want to achieve here. Why not involve some of the big coorporations as partners? Companies like IBM and Microsoft already spend fortunes on ''good cause'' projects - this could be an ideal way for them to show their commitment to hepling the 3rd world dig out of the slum.

Keane Angle

September 08, 2010, 09:42AM
Wow - good find... that's pretty much exactly what I was imagining!

Meena Kadri

September 08, 2010, 03:15AM
Hi Keane – thought you might be interested in this durable design from Uganda that was showcased recently at Maker Faire Africa: http://bit.ly/92rwXH
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