At the sight of the words ‘Wikipedia’ and ‘Education’, some may instinctively get alarmed and bemoan that it is an unreliable source of information for education. As a crowd-sourced site built on a wiki platform, anyone can edit the free information at any time of the day. This leaves the information on Wikipedia vulnerable to mischievous fingers or agents with nefarious motives, and hence, unreliable. However, the fact that it is a crowd-sourced site does not alone make it unreliable. Wikipedia is a great place to begin when diving into a topic of your choice for learning, with a completely free platform and hub for information, much like an encyclopedia. In fact, Wikipedia is constantly updated by its users, which makes it more likely that Wikipedia content is up to date and representative of multiple views on a certain subject! On top of that, the various sources linked to claims in Wikipedia make it a great springboard for beginner learners in multiple fields. Given the wide-ranging benefits that Wikipedia as a website can offer to both students and teachers of all ages, it is little wonder that many teachers use Wikipedia to educate students, encouraging independent inquiry and a zest for self-directed learning through the internet.
But there remains one problem… While city folks enjoy mostly interrupted internet connectivity and access nearly 24/7, the internet connection may vary in other developing countries and tends to be unreliable. This presents a challenge to aid workers, community involvement/welfare groups, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or social services that have a goal of providing education in less developed areas. While Wikipedia is a great tool to utilize in educating students, the lack of internet access greatly hinders your ability to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. Without internet access, we are simply not able to access Wikipedia, or other content websites to use in classes. Oftentimes we pull out our smartphones to search up unfamiliar terms or concepts, with explanations appearing on Wikipedia, a one-stop database of information. Imagine how much we can improve learning efficiency if we could extend the benefits of Wikipedia to areas where internet connections are spotty or non-existent? Learning quality will have the potential to improve drastically, as information is now at the tip of your fingers. Educators are able to search and clarify concepts almost immediately, which allows for a faster speed of learning as well.
How to use Wikipedia offline to educate students?
This is a problem that we have given much consideration to. After much research, pilot testing and attempts at thinking of how to increase student engagement in challenging environments, we came up with CaseStudy – a cost-effective digital solution that is meant to operate in unfavourable conditions and yet retain its utility and customizability to the needs of users on the ground. With CaseStudy, you can use Wikipedia offline to educate students.
CaseStudy is a tool for educators in schools, social workers, volunteers, or partners in NGOs with the interest of providing education to communities in areas with challenging or unfavourable conditions. This may include refugee camps, remote islands or communities that stay in geographically unfavourable areas. Some communities we observed had problems such as a lack of infrastructure – classrooms, whiteboards, and teaching tools. Moreover, the lack of electricity or internet connection can also hinder effective classes from taking place. Educators are not able to access their teaching materials on the spot, which means preparing copious amounts of information on paper and books.
With logistical concerns in mind, CaseStudy minimizes the cost of providing education via digital means in a handy, portable, waterproof and shockproof case. With CaseStudy, you need not worry about weather conditions spoiling your digital tools or finding a durable and handy bag in which to keep all your materials. CaseStudy is easy to carry around and can withstand harsh situations such as lack of power supply, connectivity, and natural disasters. You can carry out your mission, with your teaching tools, content, and technology safe in hand.
Features of CaseStudy
A sturdy case containing portable projectors and speakers, CaseStudy can be deployed to operate as a classroom and provide teachers with audio, visual and database information support. Simply use the projector to display your content, on a sheet of canvas or on a blank wall. With the projector, classes can be held in both day and night-time settings! We are well aware that multisensory teaching techniques reap the benefits of increased student engagement, attention and understanding. Combining verbal teaching with visual stimuli and tactile activities can boost learning. With the usage of a projector and speakers, educators are better able to craft a memorable classroom experience for students. In pursuit of innovation and content development for offline areas, CaseStudy also has the capacity for Wikipedia to be used offline – an entire database of knowledge stored in a drive, safely within the jolly yellow CaseStudy box.
You might now be wondering: how can I use Wikipedia offline in educating students? How does CaseStudy have the ability to host Wikipedia offline? Using a Raspberry Pi of course! As the power-packed processing core for our digital devices, the raspberry pi is a cost-efficient and credit card-sized microcomputer. As compared to using multiple tablets to teach, or bringing along bulky laptops, a raspberry pi enables the storage of learning content and connects your projector and speakers to create a multisensory learning environment. With some programming magic, CaseStudy is able to possess a full download of Wikipedia and its contents. The Raspberry Pi, projectors and speakers are powered by a solar energy and power bank, such that in rain or shine, your devices work.
With Wikipedia, you can teach any subject under the sun. From content knowledge in the community’s native language, to mathematics, medical knowledge, the sciences, literature and the Arts, the only limit to what you can learn and teach is time. On top of that, the 8GB hard drive in CaseStudy also ensures that you can have multiple sources of learning material. Do you require PowerPoints? PDFs? Question banks and/or worksheets? Check, check, and check. Your learning material is with you. The hard drive also does not rely on a stable internet connection, ensuring that you have offline access to important materials whenever. With CaseStudy, we provide the tools for you to create meaningful teaching experiences, leveraging on the power of technology to improve education.
The Patatas: Enabling Wikipedia to go Offline
The Patatas is a social solutions consultancy based in Singapore that works closely with interested groups for worthy social causes. We are driven by the need to do good and effect change in our sphere of influence and experience, innovating to come up with ingenious solutions for interested partners to effect positive change in communities. With CaseStudy, we hope to extend quality education to communities where environmental and resource constraints hinder learning. We believe that deserves a chance at learning and they should not be denied a chance just because of the lack of suitable resources.
Check out the projects that we have undertaken throughout the years! Various ones have shaped our identity and what we work for. In fact, CaseStudy is a project built upon the lessons gained from our pilot and longest running project Digi-Eskwela. Through the project, Tiwala Kids & Communities and The Patatas partnered together with the aim of increasing the access that poor children had to learning technologies, with the hope that it would lead to increased student engagement and academic success. Through the use of aforementioned digital tablets, we aimed to help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of underprivileged children. CaseStudy’s capabilities hope to see more advancements and efforts at providing education to these communities. With the ability to use Wikipedia offline to educate students, the quality of teaching and learning content will increase without a doubt, leading to better classroom engagement and increased education levels over time.
Here is a video featuring CaseStudy:
We benefit from the use of Wikipedia almost every day. Imagine the empowerment we could provide to NGOs, corporations, volunteer groups and local educators in rural communities or areas affected by war or natural disasters, if we could leverage on technology to bring education to the next level. One simple step we can take is creating the capabilities for using Wikipedia offline. Help us create a better world for the next generation.