Digital Learning Initiative

Note: this page will be updated as information becomes available

There are several issues which are converging into a set of requirements for an online/offline learning platform. I'll call this the Digital Learning Initiative or DLI (this is the internal name). It will live at learn.lanna.io

Some Requirements for DLI

  • Simple and easy to install and manage
  • Ability to add new content, and have content collaboration
  • Localized for Southeast Asian languages
  • Ability to evaluate content
  • Ability for multiple teachers to have access to multiple students, within given courses
  • Ability to work offline in a classroom of up to 50 wifi/clients (raspberry pi cannot support more than 20 because of processor limitations)
  • Ability to network across multiple installations to synchronize data
  • Extensible
  • Focus on language learning (not math learning)
  • Course development including entire degree programs down to learning units with rubrics throughout
  • Able to interact with other learning systems (or at least be aware of them and accommodate), e.g., have KA-Lite + DLI

Partial Solutions

  • Khan Academy is great but requires online access, and content cannot be created or evaluated. For canned lessons and teacher/student progress reporting it is excellent
  • KA Lite is an offline version of Khan Academy, but still local content cannot be created or evaluated
  • Libraries without Borders does not operate in Southeast Asia
  • Village Science operates in Laos and uses a RaspberryPi router and WordPress, unsure of their content creation tools, but this one is good for simplicity

Hardware and Software Components of Interest

  • Target price: 20,000 THB for wifi and servers
  • Wifi Router: Almond+ offers 450 square meter coverage and 50 concurrent connections
  • Computer: Intel Nuc Haswell i3 or better (possibly Celeron, but we need 50 concurrent users of Node
  • OS/Containers: CentOS, VirtualMin/WebMin, Docker containers
  • Programming: Meteor/Node for the applications, content management will be file based

Digital Learning in a Digital Library

The basic concept is that digital learning takes place with digital objects in a digital library. We must therefore take the approach of a content management system and the constant addition as well as effective organization of this collection. Seen from the perspective of language learning, which is composed of language use, with the entire language as representative of the scope of knowledge. This is where Khan Academy is (necessarily) different. Khan Academy started with videos, and around them accreted various other elements. But the core are videos, at first only by Sal Khan himself, but now by a group of content creators. However, if the model is to be scalable and distributed, then something more akin to Wikipedia or the Internet Archive should be the fundamental software design.

Media Type and Location

Most media can be added to the Archive.org, or possibly through their services for organizations. The main issue is that it is thereby released via creative commons when archived there. If not, then likely Amazon S3 with caching through CloudFront. There will be costs so it may be more reasonable to have one's own bandwidth.