Classroom in a Box
Africa Ruggedized Education Solution
Meet Judy - ARES Instructor
Judy oversees the ARES program at Sweetwater Secondary School in Nanyuki. This is the first school to receive an ARES unit.
Here is what Judy said, "The ICT Intergration teachers use ARES and I have installed e learning materials like notes, exams and schemes of work. The teachers use them to teach using a projector. When they are not teaching, the students are researching and the teachers use the time to create their customized teaching aids either from the installed e learning materials or from the internet and that is why I have the computers being used for a minimum of 5 hours per day."
Along with training our ARES technology is the tool transforming learning and classrooms.
Everyone wants technology. That includes people in Developing Countries where there is a huge gap between what people think they want, what is possible, and what they need.
Enter ARES or Africa Ruggedized Education Solution though it is clear the “A” can stand for Asia, America, in fact, “Anywhere.” This is a powerful off-line server that provides a “classroom in a box” for classrooms in rural areas or which have limited resources. Using ARES, teachers and students can sit under a tree in Turkana and still have access to educational resources, pre-school to post grad. It is an efficient, cost-effective way to deliver massive amounts of content to classrooms starved for resources.
ARES is a small server loaded with software acting like an off-line Internet for educational materials including Wikipedia, the Khan Academy lectures and videos, all 8000 TED talks, a dictionary, a thesaurus, the great Books of the World, medical and agricultural information, textbooks from kindergarten to university, specialized content, games and much more. Additionally ARES can be customized to reflect local culture and interests.
The server is really rugged – it can work all day on a single charge, a plus where power is an intermittent commodity. Up to 40 devices (tablets, smartphones, laptops, wifi enabled desktops) can connect to multiple ARES’ sites at the same time. And this server withstands heat and dust, cannot be fried by power surges, is not compromised by power outages, and has few moving parts to minimize maintenance.
Moreover, as an off-line product, it protects users from destructive viruses, ISIL propaganda, and unsuitable content.
One important result of introducing ARES to underfunded schools with limited resources is the shift in the teaching model. This doesn’t happen overnight, but over time, teachers learn to rely less on rote learning and memorization, and move to critical thinking. Why? Because they have the tools! Attorney Sean Hogan, who has seen an ARES classroom in action, calls it “revolutionary.” After installing a single box at Mahiga Hope High School,Turk Pipkin (actor, philanthropist, and founder of the Nobility Project pronounced ARES, “ A BIG hit”,” and promptly ordered boxes for his remaining schools
ARES is the brainchild of Mark Knittel, a member of the Bellingham Rotary Club, in Washington, USA and IT Director of Afretech Aid. He felt there had to be a better way and there was. Afretech Aid and Tembo Trading, two volunteer non-government organizations, have been collaborating on ARES installations and training local teachers in Kenya for two years now. The system is successfully up and running in a dozen Kenyan schools and one in Uganda.
The results are impressive, classrooms are transformed, students enthusiastic, and learning becomes more meaningful. After visiting Thome Boys’ School, one of Pa-Moja’s directors, Silvia Knittel (no relation to Mark) recently emailed this comment about ARES: “We went to Thome a couple of days ago to work on Butterfly Effect with the Thome boys. They were raving about ARES. It has made an incredible difference to the boys on Butterfly. They are able to research and get rich information. Huge thanks from Thome to you and the team!”
Kids need access to information - the RIGHT kind of information. They also need to know how to utilize and apply what they have learned. ARES delivers the goods cheaply and effectively. It doesn’t get any better than that.
WHAT WE BELIEVE...
IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, YOU MUST FIRST EDUCATE THE CHILDREN.
THE TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND STAFF AT AFRICA RUGGEDIZED EDUCATION SOLUTION (ARES) ARE UNITED IN THEIR BELIEF THAT ALL CHILDREN:
Have the power to learn
Are curious & creative
No two students have exactly the same skills or learning style. That’s why we create an individual learning plan for every child. Your plan will combine direct instruction, small-group work, and one-on-one tutoring in a way that works for your student.