The intention of this project was to utilize the technology that school children have – cell phones, to make use of the open educational content that is so freely available to those connected digitally.
The missing link needs to be created between learners on their own cell phones, and the content that is on You Tube University, created by other teachers, and accessible to bridge the gap where there are no teachers.
One technological solution has been found, developed in South Africa by a Shutttleworth Foundation fellow, the Knowledge Box, acts as a bridge to the digital and technological divide, by acting as a hub or server that is accessible by those who do not have connection to the internet and the free resources that are accessible as open content to everyone who is connected and online.
This ATM-styled machine is the link between free online learning content, and the learner is able to access content that is visual, audiovisual, audio or print ready PDF like traditional textbooks.
The project and network are also very open to various hardware options – ideally mobile phones or tablets as an access device, although we are aware of the current limitations on screen size and usability of the phones currently common in South Africa.
THE CONTENT STRUCTURE
The teacher project using this machine as a pilot have developed access to content based on the limitations of the knowledge box content structure: 6 main buttons / sub sections, linked to content that is able to be watched on the machine, as well as downloaded onto a phone, stick, disk etc.
We would like the network to link the global developed world to the developing world in Southern Africa, linking available content to educational need, and encourage the development of media content making and versioning skill of South African teachers and their learners.