Energy access to all is still a long way to go esp in countries in the Africa and a host of other island countries in the pacific. Internet brings the world closer and has a remarkable impact in the field of education. The challenge has always been in bringing the remotest part of the world under the ‘Web’. The challenge in putting devices in the remote places is the lack of electric power. Google has the project Loon (Read more about the project loon here). There are a few start-ups that have leveraged the mobile technology to create portable modems ( The story of BRCK). But, SPELL (Solar Powered Education Learning Library) is a project work by Cal Poly’s Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES). They intend to bridge the gap of energy access and internet connectivity by coming up with a portable learning kit that is powered a 10W solar panel.
What is SPELL?
A project that was aimed to create and donate 50 solar-powered mini servers, pre-loaded with educational content, that could be connected to any WiFi enabled device through a WiFi dongle. Making use of open educational resources and ever-smaller and more efficient technology, SPELL provides an all-in-one, self-powered plug-and-play kit, ready to be deployed with absolute minimal training or maintenance required for start-up and continued operation. This project is an initiative led by Prof. Laura Hosman at California Polytechnic State University.
What is in a solar SPELL?
- Banana Pi (a single mode microcomputer) with WiFi Dongle
- 32 GB SD Card pre-loaded with open-access educational content
- 10W Eco-Worthy Solar Panel
- Voltage Regulator
- 10,000 mAh Rechargeable Battery
- Micro USB Connector Cords
What is the content accessible on the device?
- Khan Academy videos
- Language arts
- Health & Safety
The project has been implemented in its first phase in 50 schools in Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia. “Peace Corps volunteers in the Pacific Islands are stationed at remote, rural schools for two years, and have a mission to teach English and where possible, technology in the schools. We believe this solar digital library provides a synergetic approach to the Peace Corps volunteers’ educational responsibilities, particularly when introducing technology into schools for the first time.” the team adds.