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CONNECTING THE DISCONNECTED using portable #offthegrid digital solar schools

Our portable solution insures world-class education anytime, anywhere in the remotest locations even during emergency situations

Photo of Buddha Burman

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What problem does your innovation solve?

Regional conflicts, Natural calamities, Social issues majorly impact the education of kids & youth most esp girls. We believe brick and mortar infrastructure cannot be the solution. Our portable, solar-powered solution is a complete learning ecosystem that contains hardware, software and local interactive educational content (Skill Training / K10 etc) that enables the creation of Digital Classrooms anywhere and it can be moved from one location to another very easily impacting many lives.

Explain your innovation.

What is your innovation? Our portable education platform creates an ecosystem that combines an affordable technology Education Server (Hardware + Software + Long Range Wi-Fi), Tablets (for Autonomous Learning), Teachers (for Supported Learning), and Innovative educational content. An intermittent connection to the cloud enables the syncing of data between the remote hub and the central cloud server, thus helping us track learning progress and the effectiveness of the system. How does it work? Our cloud based solution enables creation of localized certified content from anywhere the world and it can be accessed via out local OfTheGrid cloud thus enables best use of the system and great user experience. We are designing a personalized learning experience using Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning for users. Our solution can be used in different scenario 1. Fixed Location 2. Pop Up Location 3. Mount on a Vehicle 4. Backpack How will it be sustainable? Simple & easy to use technology platform and services helps girls along their education & career paths by providing relevant localized content, guidance, help to setup business as well as access to various tools and other resources. Our solution is green, scalable, affordable and modular. We can generate funds from partnerships, Advertisement, UN Funding, Govt. etc. Also once the training or Location closes then we just need to pack and move another location and reuse the same system.

Who benefits?

The biggest beneficiary will be people at BOP (Bottom of the pyramid) , Girls and young women, living in poverty and disruption, Refugee, youth & people live remote locations. How will they benefit from your innovation? Our solution can be used during emergency situation with a ease and deployed by non tech people. Users will get relevant interactive content in local languages will provide support by a pool of local teachers, Mentors & volunteer. Where? What age? How many? India / Nepal / Africa. Age group can be (5 years to 28 Years) depending upon the type ( Skill Development / K10 Edu). We have done pilot with 2370 users. Will your innovation specifically target girls? During our initial pilot with a rural girls school we learned a lot and re-designed our solution keeping the girl child in center, that's why everything is modular and portable. If they can't come to a distant school then school will go there.

How is your innovation unique?

We have designed our system for emergency & crisis situations keeping in mind that there will be No grid power, No Internet , No Trained Tech people , It has to be portable yet we want to get reports & updated over the net. In the digital educational market, we found little similar solutions, but not identical. Our solution is Affordable, Portable, Easy Setup + Solar Powered, Online and Off-Line, Focus – Skill Development and K-12. - Effective ecosystem without dependencies - Scalable, Replicable, Accessible - Use of Interactive technology & Quality content - Improved - Student engagement, Literacy levels, Reading skills - Better jobs & livelihoods for girls lead to educated families - We use green energy - Growth of local community We think we will successful because our solution is Modular and it will keep on evolving with time, Things can be changed and services easily due to plug and play approach also will train locals to become Educators & Tech support resources

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

1. Finding good & serious partners who share same vision and willing to work some extra miles initially 2. Getting good relevant, certified content in various local languages 3. Protection of equipment & Tablets at the remote locations 4. Building Industrial grade hardware increases the cost of the solution but we have to keep it low 5. What parameters will Judge the effectiveness of the quality of education provided by our system 6. Updating & adding a pool of teachers & volunteers for each locations will be a big task

Tell us more about you.

Buddha Burman social EdTech entrepreneur with 16+ years of technical exp. has worked with Fortune500 companies Rohini Gahlaut Technical Journalist 25 years exp. in various forms of media involved in Educational Content Development Aniruddha Bhattacharya Professional with 16+ years of exp. in Business Development for TechProducts & Solutions. Malgorzata Skiba 26+ years exp worked for European Commission now director-producer & author produced documentary include lot of Educational content.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Other (please specify in next question)

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

We have designed our system for emergency & crisis situations keeping in mind that there will be No grid power, No Internet , No Trained Tech people , It has to be portable yet we want to get reports & updated over the net, our per-configured solution can be deployed with in 1 hrs at the crisis location it can be carried in 2 backpacks. Will train the locals to take charge of the solution and run it. Our solution can be used in peace time or during crisis .

Where will your innovation be implemented?

Wish to deploy globally ( Nepal , Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Africa, South America) but we will start in India (Rural Areas & Himalayas) with BOP population. Only the content need to be tailored for other locations also we are creating a pool of partners with whom we can work to create a greater impact since they are better aware on the ground situations.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

Our early stage Mentors & Partners ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley IIM Ahmedabad's Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) Department of Science & Technology, Government of India Action for India Local Rural Schools & Partner NGO

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

Our team on average has 11+ years of experience which includes Educators, Technology Experts, UI & UX Experts, Cinematographers, Documentary Directors, Graphic Artists, Content developers, Trainers, Child psychology and Social workers. We have worked on education domain for more than 8+ years and always open to Learn & collaborate with people/organizations with similar goals also out team has worked internationally.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are not registered but plan to in the future.

Organization Location

Our core team is located in New Delhi (India) and Satellite location (J&K , Uttarakhand).


How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

After the second round of feedback from users, partners and members of the community we have further enhanced our offering with 4 pillars methodology A. Our portable education platform B. Teacher/Mentor lead student interaction to build critical thinking skills C. DIY engagement activity kits D. We will partner with corporations and industry to provide volunteers to teach 21st-century job skills using our system and in person to disadvantaged you Added C, D after the current feedback

Who will implement this Idea?

Team Alpha is located in India (which includes Educators, Technology Experts, Marketing, UI & UX Experts, Cinematographers, Graphic Artists, Content developers, Trainers) Our average work experience is 14+ years and has the Vision & necessary skills to execute currently 4 dedicated & 3 per-time resources are working on. Also currently in discussion with the Local community(ETASHA), Industry (WLCI), Foundations(DELL,AIF), Govt. NIESBUD(J&K) Technology alone cannot make the difference collaboration is the Key & the biggest beneficiary will be people at BOP Girls and women & disadvantaged Youth.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

Biggest challenge our end-user faces is the lack of access to basic education, then its affordability. The majority of the time the content is not aligned to the need and not in native language. Social and cultural pressures which lead to girls not attending schools or drop out of the schools after reaching puberty. Boys tend to drop out due to more economic reasons to earn and support the family. Skill training from early grades becomes a necessity. We use multiples content sources from partners and vendors hence the UI and UX will take the time to standardize.It poses a day to day challenge to the user to switch to access different content. We also have understood that there is a need for development of user specific content and we will need to build a provision for creating content

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

Technology alone cannot make the difference, collaboration is the key we are establishing partnerships with the various organization including donors. We are currently progressing using personal resources while seeking funds to roll out projects & grow. Will sell the portable hardware solution in combination with teacher training app, STEM kits and conduct STEM sessions. We will target schools and training institutes in tier 1 and 2 cities for quick turnaround sales for sustenance and focus on large tenders which are floated under Government schemes to reach the remote and last mile impact.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

IMPACT: Our vision is to impact & empower 202,000 people by 2020 and contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals through our green, scalable, affordable and modular solution. QUESTION: How do we measure the learning outcome to effectively and rapidly optimize/enhance our solution for greater and quicker impact?

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

We have experienced during initial pilot with BOP Kids (Grade 1 -5) is better retention, improved reading & Technology literacy. With BOP Youth are improved life skills, better prepared to face the interview and improve their work readiness Right now we are using digital & pen paper methods. Conduct baseline, middle and end-line assessment using our LMS & 3rd party organizations. Collect & Review data from partner organizations and also conduct the survey for data analysis from our cloud.

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

1 to 8: Hardware development for project roll out, LMS and Teacher app development. Seek and Establish partnerships for local content. 8 to 12: Establish and streamline commercial, operative and legal processes. Initiate marketing and BD activities. 12 to 24: Setup Multimedia Media studio for content development. Scale up to distribution to a global level. Establish distribution partnerships & Service network for implementation. 24 to 36: Replicate the distribution BD and marketing models

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Under $50,000 USD

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are seeking registration in order to implement in additional countries.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • More than 2 years

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Development / Partnerships Support
  • Business Model Support
  • Product Design


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Learning Management System comes into play when it comes to educating the students sitting in remote areas. The Internet has made it possible to deliver educational content quickly. One can access the subscribed course content by using the credentials provided by an e-Learning service provider. These systems are capable of serving analytics, reporting, course management, assessments & community features to offer the best education facility. For more information, you can check out the link below.

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