TED Conversations

Emmanuel Mashandudze

Business Intelligence, Tools and Process Specialist, Witwatersrand University

This conversation is closed.

Incorporate cloud computing to form virtual classrooms and aid underprivileged students to access high quality education.

Mobile computing, social networking (Facebook, mxit, twitter, etc) take up 90% of our student's time. Can we make learning interesting by creating a mobile virtual classroom, accessible everywhere? Students want to learn but are discouraged by an outdated, boring medium. Can we make learning interesting by using more cost efficient cloud computing services instead?

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Closing Statement from Emmanuel Mashandudze

My main interest is centered of the student teacher ratio especially in africa. A teacher has a class with an average of about 50 students. There are no tutors to attend to these kids thoroughly. Once a concept has been visited in a subject area, with such a student-teacher ratio, if student fails to master a concept there a very limited chance that it will be attended to. Poverty will not go away if these generations to come remain uneducated. Developing a cloud based virtual classrooms in reasonably affordable cloud computing resources in the cloud will enable deploying web based classes. Food is important yes but education is key to the future of the nations. Buillding the future education platform is like a creating a silo. Giving a man a fishing rod is better than giving them the food..

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    Oct 21 2011: Great Idea, but underprivileged children don't have enough money to buy a computer/laptop and most likely no access to internet connection. It's certainly a great idea, but maybe not for underprivileged youth.
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      Oct 24 2011: Lets say we start on a small scale, a school for example, having students access a wide library resource of recorded resource of virtual classes would help even the underprivileged. Most schools do not have computers but municipalities in South Africa for example have a public library in each area with a few computers. If this was a computing resource implemented in a cloud computing scenario, we could only need one big computer and share through the KVM splitters for example.
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    Oct 22 2011: Khan Academy is part of what I think could be encompased into this big picture
  • Oct 21 2011: It will be a good idea if we solve some problems.Our children don't have enough money to buy tablet etc and their parents cannot afford to buy these kinds of things but we may help them.We give them money for food and education but their people spend it for buy a weapons and bombs.We must solve this problem first i think.
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      Oct 24 2011: If the idea works well and gets implemented, computing resources will be far cheaper then what are today. What one then needs is not a sophisticated processor or memory by a simple device that handles a browser which can handle flash.

      Instead of donating financial input into governments, coming in with a tangible thing would mean a difference. Schools would largely appreciate such help. An outreach directly on the schools and on the societies grass roots would definitely work well.

      Suppose we put up virtual classes like in Khan Academy, with a more diverse selection of languages and subject areas. All we need would be a browser capable computer. Open sources operating systems are quite light on resources and it would be quite suitable even with some of the computing resources that are thrown away in first countries.

      Am sure several companies who are leaders in this cloud computing domain wouldn't mind giving back to the society if the idea is worth a development in the future generation of intellectuals
      • Oct 25 2011: I wish it works well like Khan and i think it will happen in 10 years if we donate them.Well-organized plans , fresh brains and money could solve these problems.