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The cost is quite reasonable. $300 provides a classroom server and solar power source for the server. The server downloads content targeted to the server at 128kbps, for about 40 GB of download capacity per month. The classroom server doubles as a wireless hub and tablets fetch downloaded content via wifi. It is a one way, broadcast satellite communication. Yazmi does not charge for the satellite connectivity, and hopes to cover the cost by scaling up distribution of classroom servers and tablets.

Even then, the satellite link is not core to the success of this project. As we have moved this project along, we have forged a partnership with Curious Learning who has developed a classroom server of their own. This server requires us to physically transport data to it via a hard drive or flash disk rather than via satellite, but this alternative has advantages which are in fact key to the success of this project. The Curious Learning classroom server, like the Yazmi server, pushes data to tablets, limited only by the frequency of getting data physically transported to the server. The big wins are that it also collects analytical data about the activities of children, including which applications are being used for how long and data about the activities within the apps themselves. Curious Learning also has a network of professors and students helping to analyse this data and providing feedback to our team for improvements of content.

We may be able to combine these technologies into one Yazmi satellite linked Curious Learning server. As it stands, we have edited the possible use of the satellite link for pushing out updates from the above project description due to brevity requirements.

I love the work you’ve done. I think there might be some good synergy between our two proposals. Please take a look at our proposal to use tablets to educate children between 5 and 8 in Ethiopia We would love to leverage the research and experience you have in selection of technology, setup and maintenance, and believe we can provide rich educational content for another age target and extend the benefit of the tablets you intend to set up. This will be a continued partnership as we are working together on the READ TA project in Ethiopia.

We are currently partners with Inveno on the Read TA initiative in Ethiopia and we’re interested in forming a more long-term partnership. They have done good research and field testing of tablets, they have selected the tablet they think is most durable and appropriate for the setting, (happens to be the same tablet we were thinking to use) they have developed a nice kit to protect the tablets and provide solar power. If we can combine their experience in the infrastructure with our experience with age-appropriate, culturally-relevant, child-centered educational media we’d have a solid partnership. If we both win, perhaps we can work together in terms of setup, delivery, maintenance, and extending the benefits of the tablets to multiple targets within the community. Otherwise, if we win, we may be calling on them to help with some infrastructure establishment. Thanks for the suggestion.