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YOER Pi - An Open Design for Adaptable, Portable, Offline Wireless Sharing


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Abstract for internal University of Michigan event about educational technologies

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YOER Pi - An Open Design for Adaptable, Portable, Offline Wireless Sharing

  1. 1. YOER Pi: An Open Design for Adaptable, Portable, Offline Wireless Sharing Omollo, KL, MPP, MSI; 1 Riddle, BD;1 1 University of Michigan Medical School Background: At low-resourced institutions, there may be limited on-site availability of technology equipment or limited on-site support for technology. There may be no, limited, or unreliable electricity and Internet. Existing pre-packaged content collections for offline sharing (e.g. LibraryBox, egranary, RACHEL Project, GLOWM, Outernet) have either copyright or technical restrictions that limit adaptation of the content or the interface. Methods:YOER Pi ( is a portable, easily customizable wireless area network design for accessing and sharing learning materials and other digital content to anyone within range of the wireless network. The goal is electronic access that is convenient, feasible, and adaptable with available technical and human infrastructure. The open source platform acts as a wireless router, a web server, and a file server. Anyone within range, possessing a Wi- Fi compatible device, and a web browser can browse and search the collection. If logged in, one can see analytics and modify the behavior of the YOER PI . This can be done entirely without the Internet but being connected to the Internet is an option. One can easily modify the YOER PI collection via a web browser or by disconnecting the power and then modifying the USB drive . The YOER PI device can be used with a rechargeable battery pack for power. All of the software and all of the content is openly licensed and can be freely copied and modified without requiring further permission. The device is named “your” or YOER Pi because users have legal and technical permissions to customize to their needs. All of the content shared and pre-loaded are Open Educational Resources (OER). The operating system and all of the applications are open source. YOER Pi owners anywhere are allowed and empowered to take full local ownership to copy and adapt the content, interface, and settings to suit their own context. Results: A sum of 20 devices were deployed between 2013-2014 in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Liberia. Four additional devices planned for deployment in Malawi, Liberia, and Ghana by end of 2015. YOER Pi has been tested with different hardware setups: TP Link 1020, Routers, Raspberry Pi Model B+, Banana Pi, and Raspberry Pi 2. The current configuration with Raspberry Pi 2 has shown the fastest user response time and cost-efficiency for the hardware. The current Raspberry Pi 2 setup allows for separation of the operating system and files between the SD card and the USB drives, making it easy swap SD cards to upgrade system features without the affecting the shared files, and vice versa. Complete equipment specifications, configuration instructions, and maintenance instructions are available on the website. Next Steps: In order to better understand if, how, and for what purposes the devices are being used, each device includes a short six-question survey, with one set of questions for learners and educators and another for technology and library support staff. We plan to distribute the same questions through paper survey in order to increase the response rate. We are planning
  2. 2. an in-person focus group with the device owners and users at the institution with the most devices by end of 2015.