Skip to main content

New(?) Computer-based Resources

Greetings, we sometimes forget that not everyone is tied into the same resources that we are.  So, in the spirit of Build Your Toolkit, here is one we've been using for awhile - Kolibri.  Kolibri is Learning Equality's latest project and is the inheritor of KA-Lite (Khan Academy Lite) with a sprinkling of World Equality's RACHEL project.  Like both of those systems, Kolibri continues to be designed to be ran on very light networks (capable of be served from a Raspberry Pi).  Intended to support learners in third-world settings, with little or no Internet connection, this no-cost solution is near perfect for the corrections setting.

This is the main site - https://www.learningequality.org/kolibri/

This is the demo site (anything that you see here (and more) can be used offline) - http://kolibridemo.learningequality.org/en/user/#/signin

-Marshall

Comments

Kathy_Tracey's picture
One hundred

Hi Marshall and all, 

Thanks for sharing! I have been a huge believer in bringing OERs into corrections education. Can you tell a bit more about how you use this resource? Are students working independently? Or are you using the resources to support classroom instruction? Can individuals work with tablets outside of the classroom? Or does this all have to be done in class.

I'd love to hear more about how you are using this resource.

Sincerely, 
Kathy Tracey

 

Jeff Goumas's picture
Fifty

Hi Marshall!

Thank you for your comment! I, like Kathy, would love to learn more about how you are using Kolibri and the great resources from World Possible with your learners. 

For those not familiar, World Possible is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting offline learners with content. They do a lot of in countries with limited internet connectivity, and one of the ways they bring content to learners is through a very inexpensive device called RACHEL. RACHEL is a wifi enabled server hub that allows for wifi devices to connect to and access whatever content has been loaded onto it. Along with RACHEL, World Possible has amassed an impressive library of fully downloadable resources on their OER2Go directory including, as Marshall Mentioned, KA Lite (an offline version of Khan Academy). Along with KA Lite, there are a number of resources included in OER2Go's library that can be used offline to support reading, language, and writing, including the African Storybook, Mustard Seed Books, and even Wikipedia for Schools.

One note, Marshall. I know that World Possible, Creative Commons, and others are teaming up think about ways we can better alert content creators to be certain that, in developing new content and resources, they make considerations for having the content available in downloadable/offline forms. I know there is great work being done in the Washington State area along these lines, including development of a tool that can automatically download and create an offline accessible video link for YouTube videos for instructors to include in Canvas courses. (Note: The LMS Canvas has been doing work in Washington State to allow for offline versions of their LMS.)

Thank you again for your note! I hope you'll continue to participate in the discussion and share your viewpoints over the course of the event!

MBautista's picture
Ten

My original posting was a little light, in case the community was already familiar with it.  There are some moving pieces in the setup, so I'll skip that for now.

Most of our classrooms run a local network supporting 7-20 computers (40-60 for our computer labs), each has a Linux server with Kolibri, RACHEL, Moodle, and our commercial learning product.  Classroom usage depends on the teacher's plan, personality, and/or subject level (ESL/ABE/GED/Post-GED).  Some use Kolibri to supplement lessons created in Moodle, several are working through Kolibri's own class system to selectively present individualized content to the students.  In my lab, aside from some math refresher being overseen by one of my tutors, we give the upper level (post-GED/HSD) students access to supplement (or provide a break from) other classes they're working on in the lab.

We've used RACHEL similarly for @ 10 years and KA-Lite since its inception until Kolibri replaced it.

Operationally, Kolibri can be used on tablets, but they would have to remain in range of the WIFI (we're currently using a mix of PC's and Chromeboxes).

-Marshall

Kathy_Tracey's picture
One hundred

Marshall,
Can you share some outcomes? What tech skills do your students have? What are the security concerns your department has? I know this is a lot of questions, but there is so much potential!

Thanks,
Kathy

MBautista's picture
Ten

smiley

We've only been using Kolibri for a short period, although one of the pieces (channels) they have is the content (exercises and videos) from their KA-Lite - they folded it in and expanded on it.  If you're familiar with Sal Khan's videos, they're the same ones (usually at a little lower resolution) and the exercises are similar - just a bit plainer.  Even before KA-Lite, we had Khan videos from RACHEL and most of our students loved them - being able to watch them over and over or stop them and back them up to see a specific point over again.  With the addition of exercises (and a point system - even though the points don't do anything, the students brag amongst the classes and complain when we update their server and don't save the progress information) the Khan Academy channel is a pretty impressive tool.  Another channel that Kolibri has is PhET (if you don't know what that is you should locate the link below and educate yourself), which also is in RACHEL, although we discovered it before it was added to RACHEL.  The simulations work for math, science, and general exploration and are also generally a hit with students.

We have computers literally throughout the school, so digital literacy is being worked on everywhere and at all levels.  We do have formal classes in the labs, but most students will use computers at least a couple of times a week as part of their normal classroom activities.  

 

Concerns - most of those are in the nuts and bolts of having computing devices available to the offenders (of which there are many). 

Content-wise:  We did go in and remove the how to make a motor out of the Khan Academy physics section and we pull most medical-related things, regardless of content (previous experience with people going through, self-diagnosing, and then going to medical wanting treatment for what they've decided they have).  We have also removed photos/illustrations that garner too much attention (usually anatomy/art)...

Hardware:  Our student network is air-gapped from our staff network, with the staff network being physically locked out when staff is not present.  Our offenders were able to purchase MP3/MP4 entertainment devices while out of state that allows them to transfer files - so we've disabled USB ports via Group Policy.  They've acquired CD/DVDs with porn on it - so we've pulled all of the optical drives from the student systems (the motors were also a favorite of our tattoo artists).  General mischief has caused us to lock down the general student systems fairly tightly, again primarily through Group Policy - teachers also have access to classroom monitoring software called Veyon, that allows all of the screens to be seen, zoomed in on, screenshots taken, and locked out if necessary.  There are some positive things that Veyon can be used for, but the control features are what is used most commonly.

World Possible (creators of RACHEL) - https://worldpossible.org/

RACHEL Demo site - http://rachelfriends.org/previews/rachelplus-en/

PhET - https://phet.colorado.edu/

Veyon - https://veyon.io/

-Marshall

Kathy_Tracey's picture
One hundred

Colleagues, 

I want to loop back to this conversation and share this LINCS resource on Digital Equity: Exploring this Modern Civil Rights. From the abstract,

"One in four Americans do not have access to the Internet in their homes. About 12 million people who can’t get online live in rural areas, and another 50 million people without access live in urban areas. This first episode of the Upskill with Edtech podcast explores how digital tools can be used to accelerate innovation in teaching in learning to support career advancement and life-long learning for workers and job seekers. The 26-minute episode highlights the problem of digital inequity and how it affects  lives. The podcast suggests solutions for closing the digital divide – the disconnect between those with access to technology and those who don’t. Interviews with students and administrators highlight the challenges experienced in a rural Native American community in New Mexico, cities like Chicago, and correctional facilities."

We have often discussed the need for education technology in corrections education to aid in instruction and assist our students in their development of measurable skill gains, but this  podcast challenges us to consider the lack of access as a digital equity issue. When our students re-enter society, how much of a disadvantage are they experiencing when they lack technology skills? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Sincerely, 
Kathy Tracey

randomness