Using a low cost system such as the Raspberry Pi single-board computer series to create classroom computer setups, this project is aiming to improve the quality of education by providing computers for schools. A setup of this nature also opens up the possibilities for the students to continue learning on their own and open doors to further interests in programming, electronics and online content production.
Computers for Schools is a project aiming to install a power efficient and easily accessible computer setup for schools. Apart from the obvious benefit of getting much-needed basic computer experience, the students will also gain access to the internet and software like encyclopedia, word processing, translation, vocation specific software etc. This is with the hope of providing the possibilities of a better education with the help of computers. A promising approach is to use Raspberry Pi’s as fat clients and a free software called PiNet which allows us to build a centralized classroom setup that is both cost and energy efficient.
By thoroughly developing and testing the setup in advance, we will notice and find solutions to any weak areas. The main goal is to provide a sustainable computer setup, which needs close to zero technical maintenance.
One of the initiatives that are directed to ensuring the sustainability of the computer setup over time is launched in cooperation with EWB Cameroon, where a national team of engineering students affiliated with the organization (EWB Cameroon) will function as a support team of technicians routinely travelling to the setup location. This cooperation with will hopefully improve the chance to enhance and build upon the idea of this project.
Today - not only in the west but all over the world - computer experience is not only seen as a plus on your CV but as a must-have. Through the project we hope to give the students this computer experience. So that when it’s time for them to leave the school, they will have the necessary skills and experiences. In the case of a successful project implementation, the execution of a C4S project will be streamlined and hopefully spread on the nearby areas.
The main design of the solution presented in this project can be adapted to fit different schools with different educational backgrounds. Because of this, we hope that the eventual expanding of the concept will go as smooth as possible.
The Computers for Schools project are now taking place at two different locations in Cameroon.
Computers for Schools is working with a vocational school in Bandja in the western region of Cameroon. The school teaches sewing, computer science, hotel/restaurant business and music to students of ages 12 to 20. The maximum capacity of the school is of 500 students. Our goal is to supply 50 sets of computers to the school.
Working on this project, set to Bandja, is a group of people from KTH (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm).
The school in Tatum is a Family Farm School (FFS). This means that the students are son and daughters of local farmers, attending the school with the purpose of learning how to best take care of the family farm when it is time.
A FFS not only teaches agriculture, but also math, economics, biology, computer science, english and more. This is done as to make sure that the students get a wider education than just learning the practical facts and hard labor of farming. In Tatum, the students are between 13-20 years old, with different educational backgrounds.
Working on this project, set to Tatum, is a group of people from Uppsala University.