by Saksham Khosla, LumenEd
Across the world, there is a widespread demand for young people to address major issues of global significance through cross-cultural cooperation.
While American schools are attempting to keep up with this demand, true global competency cannot be achieved through international exchange programs that less than 1% of young people participate in. In the developing world, access to engaging educational materials is largely limited to urban metropolises where infrastructure like the Internet and electricity is taken for granted.
There is vast potential for improving learning outcomes in these countries by providing digital educational resources independent of external infrastructure. At the same time, if previously inaccessible communities are given the chance to participate in virtual exchange programs, students anywhere can engage constructively with peers from diverse contexts and become globally competent in the process.
The Bright Orange Box
The Bright Orange Box is a smart projector designed to bridge a gap for classrooms without internet or reliable electricity. It’s an excellent tool for teachers, especially those that have never had access to multimedia content. It also allows us to connect classrooms around the world through our Video Pen Pal Program.
Bright and loud enough for the whole classroom
The device can play digital content for a whole classroom. We combined a 500 lumen DLP projector with 8W stereo speakers.
The internal battery provides 2+ hours of uninterrupted playback at maximum brightness. The Box can be charged from a traditional wall outlet or using a portable solar-charging unit.
3G and Wi-Fi connected
A dedicated 3G connection in the box allows any classroom to access the internet. This provides a unique opportunity for the 90% of classrooms without internet in developing countries.
Any multimedia content
The Box plays a variety of multimedia formats including videos, pictures, music and PDFs. A custom Android interface on a 5″ touch display makes navigating content easy.
Video recording and sharing
With a video camera on the back, the box allows teachers to record and share videos. This means any classroom can participate in our Video Pen Pal Program.
The Video Pen Pal Program
We wanted to be able to connect classrooms anywhere in a world in a meaningful way. We developed a weekly video exchange called the Video Pen Pal Program. Through short and simple videos, classrooms gain insight into each other’s lives and explore cultural similarities and differences. Students are challenged to collaborate and find their own unique voices.
How it works
We developed a mobile app that allows teachers to record and edit short videos and send them to their partner’s classroom. We create the connection between the two classrooms and process and share the videos. This allows teachers to focus on the program and less on management.
Who we connect
We are pairing classrooms in the US with low income classrooms in India. Classrooms in the US communicate with their Pen Pals via our web platform and mobile app. Indian classrooms receive a Bright Orange Box which handles both video recording and playback.
LumenEd connects classrooms around the world through a Video Pen Pal Program, using a solar-powered smart projector called the Bright Orange Box. This device works everywhere, even in environments without electricity or Internet, helps teachers access online content, and makes the Pen Pal interaction possible. We want to empower students, teachers and schools across the world by providing them access to digital educational resources and a platform to share their stories creatively.
We’re already working with schools in Detroit, Illinois, New York, Washington DC and educational NGOs like Teach for India and Hope for Ghana. Our Kickstarter campaign is now live to help us develop an Android platform for our Box, and reach more than 100 schools in the US, India, Ghana and Senegal!
You can check it out here: www.bit.ly/lumenedkickstarter. We’re also looking for teachers who’d like to participate in a meaningful cultural exchange with classrooms across the world, so drop us a line at [email protected] if you’re interested!
LumenEd Seeks Teachers For Cultural Exchange; Company Creates Video Pen Pal Technology, Seeks Teacher Support