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Updated Jun 06, 2019

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World Possible: Connecting Offline Learners to the World's Knowledge

RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning) is a low-cost, plug-and-play digital library for the 52% of the world's population without internet.

www.worldpossible.org
Nicole in nepal square

Nicole Comforto

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Originally developed in 2009, RACHEL is used by an estimated 500,000 offline learners in 41 countries, with a sustainable chapter program in five developing countries and steady increased user growth of 30% per year, mainly through word of mouth.

Registered as a Non-Profit in United States.

Focus Areas:

Basic Education and Secondary Education

Basic Education and Secondary EducationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Kenya and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania and GhanaSEE LESS

521,609
Lives Impacted to Date
1
Key Partner
5
Countries Implemented In
500,000
Customers
12
Employee
$2,170,752
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding
?

Problem

Open Educational Resources (OERs) have revolutionized the way we learn by making a wealth of learning opportunities freely available to anyone with an internet connection. However, 52% of the world's population lack access to the internet and cannot use these resources. As a result, the knowledge gap is widening.

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Solution

RACHEL is a portable, plug-and-play server that can connect a whole classroom of computers to a world of educational content with a single click. It stores copies of educational websites such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, PhET physics simulations, and much more, and makes that content available over a local wireless connection. Any device with a web browser can connect to RACHEL including computers, tablets, and smartphones. RACHEL is rugged, lightweight, and designed to travel anywhere.

Target Beneficiaries

Over 150 NGOs have used RACHEL to bring content to schools and learning centers in 41 countries. Most RACHELs are used in schools, with some also deployed in libraries, community centers, orphanages and prisons. RACHEL is specifically designed for offline teachers, students, and self-guided learners of all ages: those with no internet access due to remote location, poverty, refugee status or incarceration. As a result, RACHEL users tend to be from marginalized communities in the global south.

Mission and Vision

Our mission is connecting offline learners to the world' knowledge. We believe that low-cost servers are a key solution to the global education crisis, and envision a world where all four billion offline learners have access to quality content via RACHEL.

Innovation Description

RACHEL capitalizes on three major trends in technology, (1) the development of HTML5 standards, (2) the plummeting costs of storage, and (3) a robust creator community of Open Educational Resources.

These three trends converge in RACHEL, where we use high speed data connections in California to “scrape” high quality open educational websites, which creates a snapshot of that website in a point in time. We can treat this website snapshot like any other digital copy and replicate at will, including replicating it in our hardware solution RACHEL. Once we’ve loaded RACHEL with copies of dozens of websites, we leverage 802.11 networking protocol to create an access point which allows any device with a web browser (thanks to HTML5 standards) to access the content stored in RACHEL, thus providing the highest quality educational resources available to offline learners without the need for internet.

Teachers use RACHEL, and its accompanying teacher training guides and lesson plans, to transform classrooms from the chalk-and-talk lessons of the past to creative, collaborative, inquiry-based learning centers. As a result of using RACHEL, students are learning more, reading more, demonstrating greater enthusiasm for learning, staying in school longer, and graduating at higher rates. They are studying literacy, math, and science, and also using the information found on RACHEL to start businesses, increase their agricultural skills, improve health, and more.

Competitive Advantage

We modify educational websites for offline use and make them freely available on our website www.oer2go.org. Then, we make that content easy to bring anywhere via RACHEL. RACHEL software is free so that anyone with technical skills can build their own using a Raspberry Pi or other computer. Others can buy RACHEL from our store to make it even easier to bring content to remote areas.

RACHEL contains an 8-hour battery that can be charged using any power source, including solar. RACHEL is also easy to update with new content, by bringing RACHEL to an internet source or downloading content updates to a USB.

Our worldwide chapters are self-sustaining chapters started by local entrepreneurs. They provide locally relevant content, teacher training, and technical support to schools and other NGOs using RACHEL.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We plan to achieve scale and sustainability by: 1) partnering with NGOs and government organizations to reach the additional 4 billion people worldwide who lack access to internet and educational resources, 2) creating tools for content creators to design and manage their own offline modules, on www.OER2Go.org, and 3) expanding our chapter program to offer local content, adding 2-3 new chapters per year.
Funding Goal340,000
New Implemented CountriesPapua New Guinea, Zambia
Recruit2 board, 2 advisors, 5 volunteers
New FeatureReliable and consistent documentation and support structureL; better data usage collection; a more robust hardware platform for school-wide networks

Milestones

Nov 2018
Funds RaisedPENDING
$100,000
TITLETesting the impact of RACHEL + teacher training on 21st Century Skills in Guatemala
TYPEGrant
FOCUS AREAS
Basic Education
IMPLEMENTED INGuatemala
Sep 2018
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Digital Pitch Contest 2018 Finalist
Jan 2012
New Product or Service
Raspberry Pi version of RACHEL, called RACHEL-Pi, becomes our first hardware product.
Jan 2009
Created

Supporting Materials

World-Possible-One-Pager.pdf
RACHEL-brochure.pdf