The South African technology company Ambit’s innovative solar powered classroom is poised to provide “off-grid” electricity and connectivity to rural classrooms and help teachers overcome the pitfalls of load shedding. It not only harnesses the continent’s most abundant resource, the sun, but can also provide power for the rest of the school.
The so-called EDI classroom (EDI=Education Delivered Intelligently) is a standard, modular container-sized, fully operational classroom and ICT hub in one. It is already used with great success at the TlamaTlama Primary School in Tembisa on the East Rand. Visitors to the upcoming SABC Education African EduWeek in Johannesburg from 1-2 July will be able to see an example of the EDI solar powered classroom on the Ambit Technology stand on the expo floor.
Ambit Technology is a returning gold sponsor at African EduWeek which is expected to gather more than 3500 teachers and education professionals and some 120 local and international exhibitors at the Gallagher Convention Centre.
Conquering the digital divide
“The EDI solar powered classrooms are designed to be used in rural, remote or even urban areas”, says Louise van Loggerenberg, director of Ambit. 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/cooling and internet connectivity.”
The project was launched in July 2013 and seven official POCs have since been done across Africa. Thirty-two 32 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.”
An 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’s with the full support of the Department of Education.
Louise 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. 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.
According to Louise van Loggerenberg, Ambit’s message at this year’s African EduWeek in July is: “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 part of this premier education event sharing our innovation with Africa’s educators, consultants, NGOs, NPOs, independent education specialists and government officials.”