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Sharing knowledge offline

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Communities such as Appropedia build open content online that is useful to many people, including those without internet access. Then there are several ways this can reach the users/beneficiaries, mostly in a "free market" way. For example:

  • They access the internet via computer
  • They access the internet via mobile phone (becoming much more widespread in Africa and around the globe)
  • A friend or relative accesses the information, prints and shares it. Many villages have young people who work or study in a city where they're more likely to have internet access.
  • A friend or relative accesses the information, and tells them what they've learnt (in conversation, by phone or text message)
  • A teacher accesses the information, and shares it with their students
  • A development worker accesses the information, and applies it in their own work, shares it with people they work with, and/or runs an education program (for a day, a week, a year) using this material.
  • A development organization or motivated individual prints and distributes information.
  • Teachers, development workers, development organizations and motivated individual can burn CDs, DVDs or USBs of content bundles and share them through similar channels, where computers are available but a good internet connection is not.

This mostly relies on the initiative of individuals, with a few supportive actions from us:

The Appropedia community could do more, by working with people focused on offline content. Some of us know people working on this, and have given thought to it - see the notes at Offline content collaboration.

We're interested in taking a more active role in reaching people who are offline. If we find even a modest amount of external funding, we could do something very significant - especially as we are already working in the field, have contacts and have been developing strategies.

Technologies[edit]

  • CDs, DVDs or USBs
  • WikiReader[1]W - designed for Wikipedia, and thus can be made to work with MediaWiki sites such as Appropedia and Akvopedia. WikiReader works in a disconnected offline context, perfect for places such as rural Mali or outlying parts of rural Bangladesh.
  • In a semi-connected, partly online context: smartphones, mobile internet and standard broadband are available, but the availability of connections are relatively scarce and/or expensive. Many villages have at least one person with a phone, often acting as an agent, charging a small fee for people to use the phone. In this context, a possible solution is a soft WikiReader client that runs on a smartphone against a WikiReader database on a memory card in the phone.

See also[edit]