This project develops digital classrooms-in-a-box for distribution to forest schools in the Atlantic and Amazon rain forests, and trains teachers to use them. Forest and river schools are small single-classroom rural schools that serve impoverished students deep in the forested regions of Brazil. We are building and deploying kits with smartphones and Raspberry Pis (plus our learning system Agavi) and helping local educators develop appropriate learning activities and resources.
Rural schools serve an important demographic in Brazil. But they are remote. They can be hard for students to reach during flooding and inclement weather conditions. They are small and under-resourced. More importantly, teacher turnover is high. Urban-trained teachers often aren't prepared to teach in such challenging settings. As a result, students have a disjointed educational experience. This leaves them unprepared for engaging with Brazilian society and the modern economy.
The digital classroom-in-a-box aims to smooth the disjointed nature of education in this challenging environment. We are doing this through Raspberry Pis loaded with Agavi, an adaptive learning system we are building for teaching in challenging low bandwidth/electricity/income settings. This system is designed to allow teachers to build and deploy content locally via smartphone and keep track of student skills. This will preserve a local memory of teacher content and student learning.
This proof-of-concept will allow us to harden and improve Agavi so that it can work as a companion system to many existing offline learning solutions, which currently deploy static content with few opportunities to modify for local conditions. Success will allow us to expand the solution to many underserved communities globally. Additionally, by teaming up with University of Campinas students, we are training students in project development/management and building local capacity.
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