SolarSPELL empowers learners globally by providing localized educational information and the training to build 21st century skills, even in offline environments.
Student success is central to SolarSPELL’s mission, both around the world and at Arizona State University.
We envision a future in which all learners everywhere have:
access to the information they need;
skills to turn information into knowledge;
and agency to transform knowledge into solutions.
SolarSPELL is a Solar Powered Educational Learning Library.
SolarSPELL is an ultra-portable, localized, offline digital library that generates its own WiFi hotspot to which any WiFi-capable device can connect and freely surf the library's expansive, open-access content.
SolarSPELL empowers communities by providing a relevant, education-focused, offline digital library without the need for costly, long-term infrastructure improvements — and matches the technology with locally-based trainers who can support the necessary development of internet-ready skills.
To date, SolarSPELL team members have traveled across the Pacific and East Africa to carry out training with local teachers, health care workers, and Peace Corps volunteers to deploy the first 365+ SPELL libraries—but that is just the first step! Our project incorporates feedback from the field into ongoing improvements, as we look to expand in the coming years.
Why it’s needed
Access to quality education is difficult in resource-constrained locations due to a variety of barriers, including unreliable or non-existent access to the Internet and electricity. Over half the world’s population has no Internet access, yet even with access, connectivity can be expensive, paid for by the byte, and accessed only on a phone. Under these circumstances, locating appropriate educational content can be overwhelming for those with limited exposure to searching the endless web for resources: information literacy skills are unlikely to be developed.
Why SolarSPELL is unique
- Localized Content
- In-field implementation and training provided
- Students engaged in all aspects of the project
- Leverages the expertise of professional librarians
How it’s made
All SolarSPELL digital libraries are designed and built by Arizona State University students and SolarSPELL supporters. The hardware is assembled by SolarSPELL volunteer-advocates, while the library’s content is curated and contributed to by ASU librarians, faculty, staff, and students.
How it works
The SolarSPELL digital library emits an offline WiFi hotspot, to which any WiFi capable device can connect. Library users then have unlimited access to relevant educational material that they can search and surf for free, and are able to download any of the content directly onto their devices for continued access when no longer connected to the SolarSPELL server. No external electricity, Internet, or data is required for operation. Having access to a school library, coupled with teacher guidance in its use, improves student outcomes and broadens learning horizons.
SolarSPELL is a student-focused initiative, both locally and globally.
It provides students opportunities to engage globally, behave entrepreneurially, carry out real-world work with purpose and impact, and transform society.
Every semester SolarSPELL engages
- About 50 ASU students from classes, capstones, or internships
- ASU students from over 19 majors, 3 campuses, in-person and online