Solar Powered Educational Learning Library

What is SolarSPELL?

SolarSPELL is a Solar Powered Educational Learning Library: a ruggedized, portable solar-powered digital library over an off-line WiFi hotspot, designed to simulate an online experience. Making use of open educational resources and ever-smaller and more efficient technology, SolarSPELL provides an all-in-one, self-powered plug-and-play kit, ready to be deployed with minimal training or maintenance required for start-up and continued operation.

Our goal is to provide relevant, localized educational content to resource-constrained locations around the world. Our team includes university students, librarians, faculty and staff. Our model involves partnering with locally-based development-minded organizations. We provide local training, in a train-the-trainers model, as well as support, post-implementation. We carry out evaluation and research to know whether our library is having a positive impact. SolarSPELL is an initiative led by Prof. Laura Hosman. It is housed at Arizona State University.

The SolarSPELL library (2017 version) consists of:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Microcomputer
  • 64 GB SanDisk SD Card pre-loaded with open-access educational content
  • 10W Eco-Worthy Solar Panel
  • Voltage Regulator
  • 10,000 mAh Rechargeable Rav-Power Battery
  • Micro USB Connector Cords

Bill of Materials: Here is a link to our 2016 Bill of Materials

Bill Of Materials Solar SPELL 2016

How to Build a SolarSPELL

Check out our step-by-step detailed instructions, hosted on iFixit, on how to build a SolarSPELL yourself! Click on the image below, or here

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Implementation of first 200+ libraries

We have teamed up with the US Peace Corps in the Pacific Islands: to date, in Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Samoa, and Tonga. Peace Corps volunteers in the Pacific Islands are stationed at remote, rural schools and health care clinics for two years. We believe this solar digital library provides a synergistic tool for the Peace Corps volunteers, whether in their educational or health-related responsibilities, bringing access to relevant information where and when it is needed.

To date, SolarSPELL team members have traveled to FSM, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Samoa in 2015-2017 to carry out training with the Peace Corps volunteers and deploy the first 200+ SPELL libraries—but that is just the first step! Our project incorporates feedback from the field into ongoing improvements, as we look to expand and scale across the Pacific Islands, and beyond, in the coming years.

The SolarSPELL libraries have been designed and built by students.

Please check out our blog posts on the home page to keep up with our progress!

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