element14 ‘Change the World’ competition submission

In February this year, one of our team members submitted Wazi for a competition. He wrote an essay on how we would use $1,000 worth of element14’s (Farnell) products to change the world. The submission was selected to go through the next stage, and here is a copy:

“I came to the UK to study engineering but was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. I appreciated the sophistication of the British education system, which was not widespread in my home country. The contrast between the two levels of education available in the UK and Kenya made me interested in bringing the quality of the former to the latter.  During my time at the University of Southampton, I did a research placement to develop an Internet of Things model to connect remote areas to the internet using the Raspberry Pi and Microsoft Azure Cloud Services (https://www.hackster.io/umangrajdev).

I now want to use this model to improve education in local villages in Kenya.

Currently in remote villages, most education is informal. Retiree volunteers who studied and lived in a large city teach kids basics such as Maths, English and Science.

On the internet however, we have access to several free education platforms such as Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, and CrashCourse. My objective is to work with such platforms and use their already existing content to deliver formal education using the Internet of Things model we developed.

Our model includes a team in the UK who would gather the content from free online sources and package it into courses with lectures, tutorials and test materials. Those would then be pushed to Cloud services like Microsoft Azure. A hub in a capital city close to the remote locations, such as Nairobi, Kenya would be able to download the content from the Cloud. Villages with nodes made using Raspberry Pi’s would then receive the content through physical data transfer. This could be done whenever anyone from the village is visiting the capital city or through public transport, with coaches connecting villages to the capital city.

The nodes in each village would consist of a Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen and battery pack, packaged in a 3D Printed rugged case (my Engineering Master’s Thesis was on 3D Printing). I would also acquire solar powered battery packs for locations without electricity. The software on the Raspberry Pi’s would be a simple to use interface containing different subjects and their content.

Completed tests would be received from nodes in the villages and be marked by high school volunteers in the UK. I would also use locally ran automated scripts to do marking for numeric and multiple choice tests. This would verify that they have successfully learned the material and are capable of applying new knowledge.

Using $1000, my plan will develop an upload station here in the UK, a hub in Nairobi and 3 nodes in villages across Kenya, which will massively increase educational opportunities for the children living in those areas. I strongly believe that education is key to eradicating poverty and uplifting the standard of living in developing countries. Cheap electronics like the Raspberry Pi, together with the power of the Cloud, represent a great opportunity to bring the advantages of today’s technology to those who currently lack them but stand to gain the most from their introduction.”

Let us know what you think 😉

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