Open Source Education to Bridge the Digital Divide
Although we can now access more free education resources online than ever, a full third of the world’s children still don’t receive basic education. The problem is connectivity: 4.3 billion people don’t have online access. This digital divide means that 60% of people in the world who could benefit the most from free online education are unable to experience it. Learning Equality, a California-based non-profit, is dedicated to bridging the divide through tools designed to create and share open education content, whether or not an internet connection is available. By partnering with Khan Academy, they were able to develop KA Lite – an open-source platform that deploys Khan Academy videos and exercises, even when the internet is slow or non-existent. Using open-source Python software and running on Mac, Linux or Windows, KA Lite provides over 7,000 videos and 20,000 interactive exercises. Soft-launched in 2012, KA has already reached over 2 million learners in 160 countries, in settings as diverse as rural schools, orphanages, refugee camps, prisons and private homes. In a study measuring KA Lite’s impact in Guatemala, schools showed diminishing drop-out rates and rising scores. The combination of KA Lite and tablets without internet access showed the highest improvement rate among schoolchildren, with an average increase of 10 points in mathematics scores. While the majority of KA Lite deployment has been in developing countries, Learning Equality has made a difference in US prisons, where 70% of inmates cannot read above fourth-grade level. Delivered in partnership with a prison tech provider JPay, over 325,000 KA Lite videos have been downloaded in 50 facilities, allowing prisoners to educate themselves at their own pace. Learning Equality is now working to develop new software called Kolibri, which will allow teachers to customize KA Lite content.
People that live in poor and rural areas do not have sufficient resources to gain themselves internet access, which inhibits their ability to access educational information
1 in 3 children around the world lack access to a quality basic education
4.3 billion people don’t have online access. (That's 60% of the population)
It would cost $80 billion to provide Broadband internet access to everyone in the US
The cost of hardware is decreasing much faster than the cost of Internet bandwidth; devices like the Raspberry Pi and low-cost Android tablets open up computing to more users than ever before.
KA Lite has provided millions of users with educational resources
Learning Equality, Get Involved: https://learningequality.org/ka-lite
Learning Equality - https://learningequality.org/ka-lite
Sierra Briscoe - www.linkedin.com/in/sierrabriscoe