SolarSPELL featured on BBC World Service Program Click

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A short while ago, I was interviewed about the SPELL project on the BBC World Service Program Click. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk about what our solar digital libraries are, how they work, what the content is, and why having great content is so important. It was perfect timing to raise awareness of the project in advance of our deployments in Vanuatu and Micronesia in the coming weeks.

Above is a YouTube video with the interview and a slideshow of relevant photos.

If you’d prefer to listen to the full length podcast, here is a link to the Click website with the episode, and the SPELL interview starts at about 21:50.

Many thanks to Gareth Mitchell for a lovely interview, and to Colin Grant for finding out about the project and making the interview possible.

Posted in Micronesia, Pacific Islands, Solar Digital Library, Solar Power, Vanuatu, Vanuatu | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solar Digital Library Demo to Peace Corps Librarian

Last week, I had the opportunity to demo our SPELL Solar Digital Library to Elizabeth Karr, a Technical Information Specialist (librarian) at the US Peace Corps. We had already spoken and exchanged emails about SPELL prior to this, but it was wonderful to meet her in person. In fact, two-and-a-half hours flew by before I even noticed what time it was!

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We met at Inveneo’s offices in downtown San Francisco, and were also able to discuss the various—and numerous—relevant projects that Inveneo has done and is doing, both related to this project and to educational technology and connectivity in resource-constrained locations more generally.

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We got to describe in greater detail our work in the Pacific Islands over the past few years that has led up to this project, as we gear up for our deployment of the first 50 SPELL libraries to Peace Corps volunteers in the Federated States of Micronesia and Vanuatu in the coming weeks and months. We also discussed how the project could scale in the future, particularly to additional Peace Corps volunteers. Among other much appreciated insights, Elizabeth gave invaluable tips on getting productive feedback from PC volunteers in the field, so that we can keep improving the design and content on the libraries in the future.

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Elizabeth is extremely supportive of the SPELL library, and we are thrilled to be able to work with such an enthusiastic ally! We certainly look forward to working together with her and with the Peace Corps, as we continue to improve the library and hope to expand its implementation.

Posted in Cal Poly, Micronesia, Pacific Islands, Peace Corps, Solar Digital Library, Solar Power, Vanuatu | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

50 Solar Digital Libraries Ready for Vanuatu and Micronesia!

Cal Poly LAES 411 students posing with the completed solar digital libraries

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This was the final week of classes at Cal Poly, and it was a busy one for the students in this Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) project-based course, with the students completing the build of 50 solar digital libraries.

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Four of these students will be traveling with me to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Vanuatu later this summer. We are partnering with the US Peace Corps in both countries, to provide these 50 libraries to Peace Corps Volunteers stationed at remote, rural schools with no electricity or connectivity. The Cal Poly students will be leading trainings for the Peace Corps Volunteers in the use, maintenance, and troubleshooting of the libraries. More information on the project can be found at solarspell.org.

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The dates have been set for the travels: August for FSM and September for Vanuatu.

Posted in Cal Poly, Chuuk, Micronesia, Pacific Islands, Peace Corps, Solar Digital Library, Solar Power, Teacher Technology Training, Vanuatu | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment