In South Africa, technology company Ambit Technology’s solar powered classroom is set to provide off-grid electricity and connectivity to schools and assist teachers to overcome the pitfalls of load shedding currently being experienced in the country, reports EduWeek.
The standardised modular container-sized, fully operational classroom is also an Information and Communications Technology hub and aptly called an EDI (Education Delivered Intelligently) classroom. The EDI is currently operational at the TlamaTlama Primary School in Tembisa on the East Rand.
Conquering the digital divide
Louise van Loggerenberg, director of Ambit explains: “The EDI solar powered classrooms are designed to be used in rural, remote or even urban areas.”
She adds: “Standard systems seamlessly integrate with solar PV, wind turbines and a range of other renewable sources. The classroom is fully insulated and can be supplied with electric lighting, heating and cooling and internet connectivity.”
The project was launched in July 2013 and seven modules have since been commissioned across Africa. The company projects that thirty-two solar classroom solutions will be delivered and implemented by Q3 of 2015. Says the Ambit director: “conquering the digital divide, all communities in Africa, rural and urban will have access to fundamental technologies configured in a fully off-grid configuration.”
Classroom quick and easy to install
According to Ambit the EDI classroom is easy and quick to install and to move and is equipped to create a complete e-learning environment. The first one was installed at the TlamaTlama Primary School in Tembisa with the full support of the South African Department of Education.
Van Loggerenberg explains: “The EDI is a resource centre being used by both teachers and students from pre-school to Grade 7 with access to a 55 inch multi touch-screen interactive display, tablets and the e-learning solution offering over 600 000 free lessons and built-in tools combined for fascinating and effective lessons.”
She added: “We are pleased to have built a strong partnership with TlamaTlama Primary and are excited to soon launch it as one of the most technologically advanced primary schools in South Africa.”
Ambit’s global and local partners in this exciting pioneering project are Prowise, Prestigio, Extreme Low Energy® and Channel Capital.
It’s about preparing our teachers
According to van Loggerenberg: “Transforming education requires a comprehensive solution. It’s about preparing our teachers in suitable facilities, both rural and urban, engaging students in learning and empowering them with the skills for success in today’s digital world.”
She adds: “We are poised to play a major role in a brighter future of Africa’s education and are proud to be part of this premier education event sharing our innovation with Africa’s educators, consultants, NGOs, NPOs, independent education specialists and government officials.”
An example of the EDI solar powered classroom is being showcased at the SABC Education African EduWeek exhibition in Johannesburg on 1-2 July.