Learning in a Backpack

Source: EdSurge, Dec 2011

Dsouza devised an ingenious plan: Bring a chunk of the Internet’s offerings to Mongolia. He packages content from Khan Academy, MIT open courseware, and other resources into portable, self-contained servers that can be wirelessly accessed by laptops and computers.

These servers, which cost roughly $350 apiece, are small enough to fit in a backpack and need only a power outlet to boot up. Other laptops need only wireless capability and a browser that supports Flash to log on. What this creates, in essence, is a local intranet network—what Dsouza has dubbed an “Education Hotspot”—that allows users to access materials hosted on the server, even in areas so remote that Internet is either outrageously expensive or non-existent.

Dsouza also has plans underway to see how well the Hotspots work with the much-publicized $35 Aakash tablets, which the government has promised to provide to rural schools.

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