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Use the internet to create a school in a box and have it printed in high volume by the nearest newspaper or paperback publisher.

H.G. Wells proposed the idea of a school in a box in the 1920's to be published by a central publishing authority. The internet makes it possible to collect large numbers of pictures and textual material, lesson plans, instructions etc. at very low cost which could be transmitted by satellite to a the nearest printing press. However, internet cloud contents can be lost and internet access is not always assured. Print lasts at least for several decades. Possibly work with UNESCO using UNL? Downloadable modules? DVDs??

  • Jun 7 2013: I understand the process of printing is a backup system, I also understand the key point of your idea is to minimize the cost of the transmission of knowledge. However I'm not sure the cost of printing is low enough to make it feasible, I would propose to use tablets with preloaded contents. At current prices, low end tables cost about the same as a 3 or 4 good books. Also interactive contents can have a higher educational value. Other alternative would be USB memories, which are safer and more readily available than CD's or DVD's.
    • Jun 12 2013: You may very well be right. I don't do the accounting for big newspapers with large circulations. I know the tablet idea exists but it would just be a next step up. It is, however, one of the things I really want to know about. I can't read an uncharged or broken tablet. I can't read a wet or burnt newspaper either. Is there some kind of lower tech hybrid xerographic/tablet method that could be used to retain a day's worth of interesting reading for a child? There are also red and green LED electronic multiple choice selectors with question booklets. China has paperback textbooks and lessons. I don't know what kind of school library they might have but glossy full colour magazines are expensive and so are copyrighted books and e-books. What is being done right now? I know there are very inexpensive tablets coming out and a lot can be put on even just 1GB. It is another good possibility and it can benefit from a curated online public domain knowledge base(KB). Even if just teachers had instruction libraries with photos and illustrations on a tablet it would be a start. Someone in a nearby city could load up the tablets or USBs from the cloud or their own local community computer center knowledge base. Many young immigrant writers in developed countries could provide letters and stories for their cousins of the same age in their homeland etc. There are people working on creating the KBs for projects like One Laptop Per Child. How affordable are tablets and one laptop per child in poverty stricken and possibly rural areas? Can parents afford to buy the equivalent of 3 or 4 books all at once or a USB module? Is keeping the tablets charged easy to do and inexpensive? Is there a knowledge base online in the local language ready to go? People can get 100 Gutenberg Project books for free but they are not the content one wants for childhood education nor interactive. I'm sure there must be people that already have KBs ready to go.
      • Jun 13 2013: We agree the key point in this whole issue is to make the transmission of knowledge affordable, in terms of monetary cost but also in therms of practicality. Both the printed book and the tablets have an inherent cost which has to be paid, however an interesting exercise would be to research the average price of a printed page where you want your project to be delivered, that would give you at least a rough idea of what way is the most likely to go. I certainly can see a higher educational value on interactive content, but I can't give you a way to measure it, perhaps comparative data on how effective it is interactive contents compared with printed contents is already available, and if it is I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to find an equation that could give you an idea of the value of each dollar invested on printed contents compared with interactive contents, that would put you on the right track, I think. On the other hand, the "one laptop per child" project is not a new, so I think there's already a mass production platform which may be taken as the base to build really inexpensive electronic books, in which you could plug in a (also inexpensive) USB memory loaded with the desired contents.

        As for the electricity I don't think of that as a major problem, remember William Kamkuamba?... also the other day I saw a TED talk in which someone made a hydroelectric turbine that has enough power to charge all the cellular phones of a community with just a 19 liters bucket and a Toyota alternator (Sorry I can't give you the exact reference, some time has passed and I just recall parts of it)... So electricity is not a constraint, there are hundreds of interesting homemade wind projects to generate electricity inexpensively in YouTube.

        May be your project, if delivered electronically should include a "build your own wind turbine" tutorial, perhaps in a 2 or 3 pages printed instructive.
  • Jun 6 2013: Why not? Remember that H.G.Wells was a polymath who pursued his education and made some money sort of like that. Also, a friend told me he completed a great deal of his education in the Air Force using programmed learning provided by the Air Force. Called the college of the Air Force or something like that.
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    Jun 6 2013: You might look at websites that exist for homeschooling families, as they are typically interested in comprehensive curricula.
  • Jun 6 2013: I had the idea to create "God in a box"--automated wisdom. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.