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Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique (FNSRS) 2022

Beekee Box : a nomad device for fostering learning in weak infrastructure settings

Learning Beekee Box Digital

Titre : Beekee Box : a nomad device for fostering learning in weak infrastructure settings

Numéro  : 198712

Début/Fin : 01.01.2021 – 31.07.2022

Requérant  : Vincent Widmer
Institution de Recherche : Unité TECFA FPSE Université de Genève

More than 300 million youth and adults don’t have access to education, because of the lack of instructors, infrastructure and tuition costs. Thus, a high number of NGOs, universities and international organizations perform training in the field to improve access to education in low-resource contexts.After having conducted an activity analysis to identify the very specific needs of the trainers working in the field, our results showed that NGOs trainers frequently have to share pedagogical material and perform assessments and that, because of the weak infrastructure, the few computers available and the repeated power cuts, cannot rely on the use of digital tools to do it. Instead, they use low-tech solutions (paper, USB keys, etc.) that they often consider unsatisfactory. What emerges from our interviews is that there is a real need for easy-to-use, portable, fast to deploy, inexpensive digital solutions to improve teaching in low-resource areas.To tackle these issues, we developed a first prototype of the Beekee Box, a small portable learning platform that works everywhere and does not require access to the internet. It creates a local wireless network that learners connect to using their own devices to cooperate in real time, share, retrieve documents, and even follow complete training courses.The Beekee Box works with every smartphone, tablet, or computer, directly in the web browser without any application to install. Thanks to its battery and small size, trainers can go off-road and withstand power cuts.The Beekee Box has been tested by our actual partners as a portable learning tool, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Yemen, Mozambique, Iraq and Tanzania (Tamrat, Estupiñán, Widmer, and Schwanfelder, 2020) and by InZone in the Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya). The effectiveness of this proof of concept has been approved by them and we are now working to improve it to deploy more Beekee Boxes in the field.The Beekee Box was in an advanced prototype stage, able to function correctly under relatively good environmental circumstances such as moderate room temperature, a dust-free environment. Nevertheless, since the Beekee Box is intended to be a nomad device it must be ensured that the internal components work smoothly under challenging conditions and real-life scenarios in the field.Thanks to the BRIDGE Proof of Concept grant, we were able to refine this prototype on four dimensions : 1. Operational, 2. User Experience, 3. Reliability, and 4. Manufacturing. Therefore, an improved version of the Beekee Box has been released and is currently on sale. We were also able to identify new market segments and sealed new partnerships.

Mots clés : Educational Technologies, Teaching, Learning, Cooperative Learning, Humanitarian

Financement : 189 615 CHF

Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique

Page publiée le 22 avril 2023