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Re: [school-discuss] FOSS in Malawi

Joel Kahn wrote:
Two thoughts:

1. Is Mark Shuttleworth in on this at all?

2. I think I saw a brief mention in someone's
posting about grabbing web sites and storing them
for use offline. If live Net access is really going
to be an expensive pain in these poor rural areas
for a while, it might be a good option to copy
a suitable hunk of the web and simply let the
students do their learning from some slightly old
data fed to them off the local server. Updates
could be provided at whatever intervals fit with
the overall economic realities. After all, do
students in this situation absolutely require
up-to-the-second info feeds? The students can
send email to each other over the LAN, even if
they can't email people overseas. If a delayed web
version can be done in a much shorter time, at a tiny fraction of the cost, and with a lot fewer
hassles than having it all live, it certainly
would seem to be worth considering.


Haven't contacted Shuttleworth/Canonical, but worth doing in case he wants to help fund a pilot :-)

Main goal of teacher I'm working with is to expose the students there to the outside world and vice versa. Latter means some kind of active feed, even if very narrowband and intermittent. Plus, for the older students and adults, some kind of active feed could lead to economic development as well as improvements in education. But you're absolutely right, if it just turns out to be too costly to do a live Internet feed, shipments of CDs/DVDs with updated web content would be a way to go. I actually proposed that the seldom-used Georgia Public Broadcasting satellite service be tasked at night with downloading selected web page updates to rural Georgia schools w/o good Internet connectivity, and 3 years ago they started a pilot. Your note reminds me to check up on that idea and see how it went, but I suspect the usefulness evaporated as the state deployed more and more fiber to each school and provided a Gigabit WAN to all schools.


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation