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RACHEL: Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning

For the 52% of the world's population without access to the internet, RACHEL provides fast, free access to quality educational content.

RACHEL is a portable, plug-and-play server that can connect a whole classroom of computers to a world of educational content with a single click. It stores copies of open educational websites such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, PhET physics simulations, and much more, and makes that content available over a local wireless connection.


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Target group
April 2020

About the innovation

Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education & Learning

RACHEL is an innovative, low-cost piece of hardware and an accompanying package of software and content that capitalizes on three major technological trends: (1) the development of HTML5 standards, (2) the plummeting costs of storage, and (3) a robust creator community of Open Educational Resources.

These three trends converge in RACHEL, where we use high speed data connections in California to “scrape” high quality open educational websites, which creates a snapshot of that website in a point in time. We can treat this website snapshot like any other digital copy and replicate at will, including replicating it in our hardware solution RACHEL. Once we’ve loaded RACHEL with copies of dozens of websites, we leverage 802.11 networking protocol to create an access point which allows any device with a web browser (thanks to HTML5 standards) to access the content stored in RACHEL, thus providing the highest quality educational resources available to offline learners without the need for internet.

Open Educational Resources (OER) have revolutionized the way we learn by making a wealth of learning opportunities freely available to anyone with an internet connection. However, 52% of the world's population lack access to the internet and cannot use these resources. As a result, the knowledge gap is widening.

RACHEL bridges this education gap by making it easy to bring quality OER to offline areas. We know both from our impact studies and from testimonies from our partners around the world that access to quality, locally relevant content is crucial for improving learning.

Teachers use RACHEL, and its accompanying teacher training guides and lesson plans, to transform classrooms from the chalk-and-talk lessons of the past to creative, collaborative, inquiry-based learning centers. As a result of using RACHEL, students are learning more, reading more, demonstrating greater enthusiasm for learning, staying in school longer, and graduating at higher rates. They are studying literacy, math, and science, and also using the information found on RACHEL to start businesses, increase their agricultural skills, improve health, and more. 

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