Internet in a box

Internet access in developing countries can be prohibitively expensive and
cumbersome (e.g., thousands of dollars per month for speeds that often are less than dial-up).
Now imagine if someone identified a wealth of high-quality educational materials
on the Internet, downloaded them using web site ‘scraping’
software, and then made them available on an inexpensive hard drive that could
be plugged into an existing server network. All of a sudden, individuals could
access many of the incredible resources on the Web quickly, easily, and cheaply,
without consuming expensive bandwidth. Can you imagine how empowering that would
be?

The Internet
in a Box.
’ That’s the idea behind the University of Iowa eGranary Digital Library
project, which is making web sites, books, journals, and educational software
available to universities, schools, clinics, and libraries in the developing
world. This is a pretty nifty idea (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a
U. Iowa alum). I encourage
you to check out the eGranary fact
sheet
, content
catalog
, list of
subscribers
, and other
materials
.

I wonder how this could intersect with the One Laptop per Child initiative. Also, wouldn’t it be a great school project to raise money to buy these for some institutions in other countries?

2 Responses to “Internet in a box”

  1. Okay, related to this post, Kobus van Wyk has a brilliant post(http://www.khanya.co.za/blogs/index.php?entry=entry070529-192139) on ICT implementation. He has this dead-on illustration with a fable from Aesop on the crab. It’s my favorite analysis of why tech implementation can fail.

    Here is what I’m getting at…1-to-1 laptop policies are being questioned here in the U.S. just as they are being implemented in the developing world. In both places we have to ask, is the implementation being done in a way that is effective, efficient, and likely to succeed, or are we throwing “hardware” at a “software” problem?

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