If you’re Laura Hosman, bringing educational resources to rural areas is what you do.
This week, Hosman is traveling to Tonga, where she and her team will deliver 25 portable, solar-powered, Wi-Fi-ready digital library devices called SolarSPELL — the Solar Powered Educational Learning Library — which is helping to expand access to education and technology in remote places around the world that lack electricity and the internet.
Hosman, an assistant professor at ASU with a joint appointment in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is traveling with five undergraduate students — four engineering students from the Polytechnic School, one of the five Fulton Schools, and one film student from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts — as well as Lorrie McAllister, an assistant university librarian at ASU Libraries.
The innovative library device is 100 percent self-reliant: generating its own solar power and Wi-Fi hot spot and using its own tiny computer, called a Raspberry Pi, that functions as a server connecting to library content via smartphone, laptop or iPad.
Because the SolarSPELL website functions as a local digital library — providing thousands of resources in the form of videos, articles, books, lessons and instructional guides — the selection of educational content and how the technology is introduced to the community is crucial.
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Past SolarSPELL Coverage/Links: “No Internet, No Power, No Problem: Solar Library Empowers Schools Abroad” (September 17, 2016)