CSPO Events

November 07, 2017 8:30am—10:00am

Solar Powered Education: Bringing Digital Libraries to Off-Grid Students

How can we bring the resources of online education to places that lack connectivity?

The rise of the internet has brought about unprecedented access to digital information, with transformative implications for education.

Online education has transformed into an anytime, anywhere, individualized learning experience—for the fortunate with high-speed connectivity. In reality, over half of the world’s population still has no internet access. Across the developing world, connectivity is not a given, nor is it unlimited or affordable.

If tech giants and governments are spending billions of dollars to address the connectivity challenge and still coming up short, what might be done in the meantime to bring quality, relevant information to schools that lack such basic resources as books, libraries, electricity, and internet?

In this talk, PLuS Alliance prize winner Laura Hosman will examine the design, development, and deployment of a for-the-field technology that looks quite simple but has a complex background. Borne out of in-the-field challenges, the SolarSPELL (Solar Powered Educational Learning Library) is a portable, ruggedized, solar-powered digital library. It takes the internet offline and brings relevant, localized, digital educational content to off-grid, unconnected locations. SolarSPELL is also a hands-on, iteratively developed project that has involved university students at every stage and in all facets of development.