- Internet speed is highly variable within the large cities and slow to non-existent in rural areas.
- Internet access for a school can be costly.
- The technical ability to filter unsafe or inappropriate content is probably lacking in many schools, so internet access is simply cut off.
- Staff fear that they cannot keep students “on task” when open internet is provided.
- There is an educational divide between the “have” city schools with great internet and the “have not” schools with no internet.
The past five years has seen a great rise in (1) the availability of freely attributable educational content and (2) the availability, simplicity & affordability of stand-alone WiFi servers. This is a good time to start using these resources.
“they hope that the children of the village did not come out of the village (Desa Adat Rimba di Bukit Duabelas, di Provinsi Jambi) for formal education in the city.” (via Google Translate)
Our Solution: Offline Educational WiFi Servers
All freely available Indonesian language Open Educational Resources (OER), Creative Commons & Open Source educational materials will be made available offline via inexpensive WiFi servers. We will work with World Possible to make this available via their Rachel Offline service & products. Live Demo.
They provide the instructions on how to prepare other sites for offline use and will work with those who want to prepare country-specific packages (which can include removing culturally objectionable content). They have various updating systems in place.
Some of these websites have some Indonesian language content and translation frameworks to enable volunteers to translate their interfaces and/or content. We will recruit and organize volunteers to complete the translations of the best materials.
In addition, we will make our entire educational website, complete with lesson plans, available offline. Ex. by using MediaWiki (which powers Wikipedia), we can create an offline copy using the established method.
An offline server can be valuable even for schools with internet because (1) internet costs are often prohibitive, (2) guaranteed appropriate content, and (3) user safety is guaranteed.
We would love to see these servers installed in parks, government buildings, libraries, restaurants and internet cafes but need to determine if people would actually use them.
A computer for every student is ideal but unattainable by many classes. One option is allowing students to bring their own devices.
We suspect that a single computer with a TV or projector is valuable for demonstrating subjects that are difficult to describe on a blackboard (ex. space & biology). If we can enable the server to communicate with a ChromeCast type device, then a teacher could present materials via simply a handphone and projector.
We envision great value in making these materials available to all teachers in the school via their personal handphones. This will allow them prepare for class and research student answers.
Solid Track Record
These offline systems have been implemented elsewhere and found to be effective. We can learn from these projects to create one that will work for Indonesians in an Indonesian setting. Some of our challenges will be different because the Indonesian education system & culture is different, but with adequate investigation, consultation & trials, there is a high likelihood of making a positive impact.
I would love for the Ministry of Education to grab this project and run with it, but our impression is that this is something external parties must do. Ideally, once the process is running smoothly and the value is proven, then the Ministry could take over maintenance.