Off-line Websites for Developing Countries

We do volunteer work in developing countries.  Among other things, we install playground equipment adjacent to primary schools sited in remote locations.  Many of these schools have no access to line power or the Internet.  We’ve been looking for technologies assist these schools.

On our last trip to Uganda, our computer expert installed a laptop with an off-line version of “Khan Academy” at an island school located in Lake Victoria.  Since the school/orphanage does not have line power, the installation is solar powered.  It computer system is currently under evaluation.

School Staff Enjoying Off-line Web Software

Student Enjoying Off-line Web Software

After I returned to the US, I was asked to serve as a mentor for STEM students at American Fork Junior High School, Utah.  There I met a fellow mentor and computer automation specialist who has a working familiarity with a small inexpensive computer called a Raspberry Pi.  When he heard that I’m doing work in Africa, he suggested using the Pi’s coupled with an offline software package called “RACHEL.”

According to wikipedia:

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a small single-board computer developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries.  The original model became far more popular than anticipated, selling outside of its target market for uses such as robotics. Peripherals (including keyboards, mice and cases) are not included with the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3

Also, according to Wikipedia:

World Possible is a non-profit organization that makes and distributes RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning), software that hosts offline free educational content such as Khan Academy, Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg and others via wi-fi on a Raspberry Pi computer.  RACHEL is designed so that students or schools that do not have internet connections, but may already have devices (such as cellphones) that can receive data via wi-fi, can access educational content via RACHEL as a server.

A wonderful asset of the Pi/RACHEL combination is its low power requirement; it can be easily powered by solar technology.

A friend suggested we also look at “Outernet,” a very narrow pipeline of select, current content from the Internet.  It is inexpensive to deploy, has no ongoing costs, has low-power requirements, uses a Raspberry Pi, and works anywhere you can see an Inmarsat satellite (there are three geostationary Inmartsats which cover the globe).  People have combined the Outernet with the Pi/RACHEL combination using two Pi’s and attaching them together so they have a single wi-fi access point.

Stay tuned for updates.

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