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OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

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Thursday, October 12 • 9:45am - 10:40am
Closing the Digital Educational Divide: Using Low Cost Technology to Share OER with Libraries, Schools, and Public Health Facilities in Africa and the World

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Nearly 5 billion people around the world lack basic internet access, putting them at a severe disadvantage in terms of economic, educational, health, and social opportunity. While a number of providers are attempting to address this global digital divide, our panel will explore a collaborative effort to bridge this divide using several low-cost technological solutions, offering enormous potential for reaching the developing world. We will discuss our experiences using Outernet, Keepod, and RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning). These technologies allow our team to distribute open content to information-poor communities in a cost-effective and efficient way.



In partnership with Outernet, a global broadcast data startup, an IT nonprofit in Malawi called ShiftIT, Salesforce/Heroku, and World Possible, University of Massachusetts Amherst librarians, students, and faculty are transmitting sought-after, openly licensed information to libraries and schools that have no, or very limited, internet access. Under the leadership of the UMass Amherst Libraries a student World Librarians group is providing residents of the developing nation of Malawi with access to information that would otherwise be out of reach. Sites in Malawi request information they want via Twitter and tag the UMass Amherst account. The advantage of Twitter being the reduced cost to cellular data plans. Tweets are then organized and managed within the Salesforce & Heroku Apps, allowing searchers to easily fulfill requests. The preliminary success of this pilot suggests that there is potential for it to be replicated on a much larger scale as well as expanded into other fields such as public health.

Speakers
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Jeremy Schwartz

Executive Director, World Possible
avatar for Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith

Digital Projects Manager, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Manage the Open Education program at UMass Amherst. Former archivist, resident of Holyoke, MA, member of the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA a volunteer-run community arts space.



Thursday October 12, 2017 9:45am - 10:40am
Grenada

Attendees (21)