How do we get this into the hands of the children who need it?

Should it be accessible on an app store?
Should it be on a dedicated learning device?
Who will pay for the distribution?
What business models/micro-economies can be created to scale delivery?

NGO ‘s like
Keep children in school foundation or similar NGO’s
Are best equipped to distribute this
Mohsen Dibaei

I have a suggestion. There is a massive community of adventure motorcyclists who live to “Do good as they go”. In 2018, 4 of us found donated laptops, installed open-source OS and “Rachel” Software on a wifi hub, strapped the laptops to the backs of motorcycles and delivered them to the Cardamom mountains of Cambodia. (Video: Why Cambodia). There are thousands of motorcyclists who would jump at the opportunity to use their passion to deliver equipment to remote areas anywhere in the world.

We did this at our own expense, “Do Good as you Go”. And we had a life-changing experience at the same time. Video: Laptop Sherpas.

The ADV community would be a great way to get this tech into the hands of those who need it.

Maybe the demand is so great that every possible delivery route should be developed? Maybe, but I’m not so sure. Daniel asks about a dedicated learning device and LaptopSherpa mentions donated laptops and I can see problems with both of these. If the software is tailored appropriately then surely any tablet should be up to the job, so creating a dedicated device seems to me to be unnecessary. There are also commercial implications that surely would impede universal rapid deployment of the devices. Donated laptops in my experience are donated for a reason! For a long time there have been organisations who collect redundant computers, refurbish them and then ship them overseas. I think there may be some future in that route, but surely for our purposes only tablets should be considered, not laptops. However, although an admirable operation for a non-profit, I do question the model for its scalability. Also, I feel that route is probably more about dealing with the rich-world problem of obsolete hardware than about satisfying the poor-world demand. (Donations of completely inappropriate schoolbooks comes to mind!)

No, my thinking is that we all, in both rich and poor worlds, are living together in 2019. In particular, use of smart phones has increased dramatically in just the last couple of years and soon they will be as common in rural Africa as in Europe. Screen sizes seem to be increasing, too. So the hardware is coming of its own accord! The task, then, is to ensure that the software is available, that it works reliably and, most importantly of all, that it provides the desired user experience.

Having said that, I also feel that, so far as is technically possible, software should be designed to be backward-compatible (probably with reduced functionality) with out-of-date hardware and operating systems. The world’s heap of “obsolete” hardware is surely going to continue its exponential growth and much of it will be in countries full of the children who are so deserving of Global Learning software. It’s a big ask of developers who are all desperately trying to keep up with the pace of technological change. But if they could step back for a moment they might find that adapting current software for backward compatibility might prove just as creative, challenging, fulfilling and fun.

The problem with a ‘dedicated learning device’ is that it takes choice away from the end user. Empowerment seems to be an underlying goal of the project, and communities should have every chance to build from basic literacy and numeracy into digital literacy in the full range of contexts that they can determine for themselves.

@tchrlou Note that the 5 software solutions vary quite a lot. While some of the teams implemented a rather sequential learning path with fewer choices, it’s worth pointing out that the Chimple team chose to implement a less restrictive user interface for the children, allowing them to experiment and learn through trial and error (constructionism).

I am all in favour of the benefits of a constructionist approach to education. Free choice is not just in the learning interface, though. Choice includes non educational things- like business, games, chat or pleasure.

My most recent work in Bangladesh has shown that many have access to some device for learning and a curriculum available that meet the students and teacher needs it is connectivity that slows the process. By connectivity, I mean access to reliable electricity to charge the devices. In our project, we have devices that are loaded with educational materials and curriculum, but the unreliable electricity in the villages creates a significant hurdle to overcome. Many of the families we work with have at least one mobile device, but are slow and outdated compared to most Western countries. Our team is made up of mostly Bangladeshi citizens and NGO educators from non-Western countries.

Also, in several countries we work in including Bangladesh, there are government expectations. Government funded schools must follow these rules and regulations that promote traditional educational practices that are contrary to what we are promoting such as project-based learning (PBL).

I might have a simple and not expensive solution to the connectivity issue, but our funding ran out to pursue these ideas.

@dcristol Hi, Dean. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Lack of access to reliable electricity sources is definitely a challenge in this type of settings.

It would be interesting to learn more about your solution to this problem, if you don’t mind sharing. What hardware setup would the solution require?

Using a hand-crank generator which cost under $50. While not a perfect solution, these generators provide enough of a charge for mobile phones. We also are partnering with the Commonwealth of Learning, using their Aptus device (Aptus) for providing the offline curricular information accessed through a mobile device.

Hi @daniel_miller! I definitely think that creating an app on the app store is essential to building a story around the experience. It could grow the community and also allow for support, which I believe would make it easier to reach communities that might not have access to an app store.

I think that revenue can be driven from everyday people’s interaction with a public app. This can potential fund beta tested dedicated learning devices in places around the world. Places in which the educational service will be indisputably beneficial.

I don’t know much about scaling but I think creating an app is an amazing idea to allow xprizes to create a bigger overall impact on the world.

Would love to hear your thoughts? But keep doing amazing things ??