Submissions/Project Recap: Distributing WikiReaders to Schools in India, Mexico and South Africa

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 3024
Title of the submission
Project Recap: Distributing WikiReaders to Schools in India, Mexico and South Africa
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Aislinn Dewey username: Ashstar01
E-mail address
Country of origin
United States
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog

About a year ago, I discovered the WikiReader - a pocket-sized battery powered device that stores a complete version of Wikipedia on an SD card. I noticed on Amazon it had dropped from its original price of $99 to $25 less than a year ago, and I had an idea - what if these devices could be used not in the developed places they were being sold to but distributed to areas off the grid, without a technology infrastructure. I emailed the creator of the device, Open Moko, and asked about where this product was going and was shocked to find out the company was going out of business and had 20,000 WikiReaders in a warehouse in Taiwan, sitting on a shelf. It seems they had designed it for the wrong audience as an offline device didn't have much value to an internet-connected population.

This past February, using a Wikimedia grant and Indiegogo campaign funds, I completed a 3-month pilot distributing 500 WikiReaders to schools without internet access in India, South Africa and Mexico. The selected project sites chosen were ones that had very limited access to books, internet and technology and in great need of access to information. The three sites were: St. Anthony's School in Uttar Pradesh, India, Herminino Salas Gil in Tamazunchale, Mexico and Sinenjongo High School located in the city slums surrounding Capetown, South Africa. We coordinated with contacts in each of the schools to distribute surveys throughout the pilot to measure success and the impact of having offline Wikipedia makes in schools in low-tech areas.

This presentation will highlight some of the major findings from the pilot. It will also propose thoughts on how the Wikipedia community can better impact the needs of the significant population of youth in offline areas that need different technology solutions than those of the developed world.

Education Outreach
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Depends if I get financial aid and on my finances
Slides or further information (optional)
Grant is here
Special requests

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  1. Thelmadatter (talk) 17:07, 11 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Djembayz (talk) 19:38, 13 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Lawsonstu (talk) 14:35, 11 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. NaBUru38 00:14, 26 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Kelson (talk) 14:38, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Ralgis (talk) 16:44, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Martin Kraus (talk) 21:06, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Ocaasi (talk) 01:55, 8 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. FKoudijs (WMF) (talk) 23:24, 10 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Quiddity (talk) 20:21, 12 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Muriel Staub (WMCH) (talk) 19:27, 16 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  12. --Iopensa (talk) 07:41, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Shiningroad (talk) 16:16, 1 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]