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Outernet delivers courseware and learning resources to students and teachers

Outernet delivers dynamically updated educational resources to support students and teachers in refugee communities anywhere on Earth.

Photo of Rachel Feinberg

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Outernet delivers digital information to places where the Internet cannot reach. We broadcast digital content from satellites to the entire planet, like a global radio station that sends files instead of music. This free-to-receive broadcast is accessible to everyone, independent of income, infrastructure, or geography; all that is required for access is a receiver and a Wi-Fi device. Content is viewed in a device's browser and can be downloaded for future use. We can deliver this content in any format (i.e. text, audio, video), and in multiple languages. Because Outernet is a global service that requires no terrestrial infrastructure, Outernet receivers can be deployed quickly and easily to transform any location into a hub of learning, whether it is a permanent school, a temporary structure, or tent. Once a receiver is available, users never pay to access the data. Outernet ensures that students in refugee communities can access the most up-to-date learning tools, and teachers have resources. Outernet can deliver third party content, so it is also a tool for organizations who are restricted in their ability to deliver content to refugees without internet connectivity.

WHO BENEFITS?

The benefit of Outernet is that it can be used by anyone, anyplace on Earth.
- Students benefit from access to ample, up-to-date learning resources and tools.
- Overworked teachers benefit from teaching resources.
- Creators of courseware or learning tools can distribute them directly to refugees without the constraints of an Internet connection or traveling directly to a site.

PROTOTYPE

We are testing our Pillar receivers in multiple locations and environments, including community learning centers, schools, and health centers. We are in the process of developing Outernet kiosks, and we are working with UNICEF to install Outernet for victims of the Earthquakes in Nepal. This fall our mobile receiver, Lantern, will make Outernet mobile and solar-powered. Currently, Deutsche Welle is a partner that is already pushing information over Outernet. IREX is a refugee camp implementation partner.

In these situations, we are gathering feedback on content preferences and suggestions from students and teachers, and feedback on user interface and overall usability. We will continue testing in different refugee locations to learn more about how specific needs vary by area, and hope we can help build the capacities of other organizations at work in these areas.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We are creating a new space for learning and collaboration for those who work in offline locations. Once an Outernet receiver is in place, sending digital content to the most difficult-to-reach location as simple as the click of a mouse. The result is that all students can have access to and benefit from many of the educational innovations created within this OpenIdeo challenge. Our team thrives on advice and feedback, and we hope to advance the work of others through strong partnerships.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

Outernet is based in Chicago, but we have team members dispersed across the globe.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.

12 comments

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Photo of Andy E. Williams
Team

Kudos for such a robust stand-alone solution.

Photo of Rachel
Team

Hi Andy,

Thanks Andy, but actually Outernet is even better with collaboration with others. We provide a basic level of education and information, but it is also a platform for others to build upon. Think of it as a space for collaboration, and a means of distributing information to people without Internet access

Thanks!
Rachel

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