TECHAiDE, a technology social enterprise specialising in the design, development and deployment of low voltage and rugged computing systems, has launched a free information access device. The device, dubbed: ‘ASANKA’, is a low-power, low-cost, durable content delivery device that works without the internet.
The device, which can be used to track changes over time with surveys, interactive quizzes and games to see how people improve performance and achieve results, is a cheaper, faster, and easier way to access educational content.
It is a one-watt device that can be powered by any USB charger from grid power, USB port on a laptop or desktop, battery bank or solar charger, and its content can be accessed by any WiFi enabled device.
The launch was performed at the Second Annual Impact Education Conference, organised by TECHAiDE in Accra. The conference, which was on the theme “Teaching with Technology”, brought together over 150 participants from public and private schools, proprietors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the educational sector, and officials of the Ghana Education Service.
Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, said the product was to secure the educational future of Ghanaian children.
He said teachers could utilise the ‘ASANKA’ technology in their teaching notes to make a difference, by improving studies.
Prof Anamuah-Mensah, who is also the Board Chairman of TECHAiDE, said school pupils in rural areas and underserved communities were not performing in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Science and Maths, and that ‘ASANKA’ could address that challenge.
He said there were many innovations in the field of technology unfolding in the world, and that parents should take the advantage of these technologies to educate their wards. Prof Anamuah-Mensah urged the government to partner TECHAiDE, by putting in place a policy that would help promote the device in the country’s educational sector.
Mrs Margaret Okine, Director in-charge of Basic Education at the Ghana Education Service (GES), on behalf of the Director General, lauded the initiative and reiterated the government’s commitment and support to ICT and such initiatives.
Mr Kafui Prebbie, Chief Executive Officer of TECHAiDE, said the concept of ASANKA came at a time when his outfit decided to solve the difficulty of accessing relevant online multimedia content in rural and marginalised areas.
He said TECHAiDE, in 2015, after setting up over 70 ICT centers with educational software nationwide called EDULabs, it was evident that highly marginalised children and communities had very little exposure to greater knowledge to participate fully in the 21st Century.
Mr Prebbie said aside the problem of internet availability and reliability, the issue of cost was a critical one.
“As of June 2017, the cost of 1GB of data in Ghana was approximately US$3, which was way above the reach of many households.
“I asked myself a question of how TECHAiDE could innovatively centralise information for people living in developing areas, and distribute and access relevant content just like with the internet, but without such high data costs and internet connectivity?”
The ASANKA device Operating System runs on a micro-SD card storage system with a minimum of 64GB and a maximum of 512GB; uses 802.11n Wireless to distribute content, and an Ethernet port to download desired content from the ASANKA cloud architecture.
He said the ASANKA solution was designed to also allow users to upload their own content onto the device.
Thus, he said, the content is uploaded to a cloud account and later synced to the devices through an ethernet port on the device. “There are currently six different compatible formats that are able to be uploaded to an ASANKA, and these include Video Files, Audio Files, Static Documents (MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF documents, etc.), Interactive Quizzes, Surveys and Interactive Games.
TECHAiDE has 10-year plus working experience within the ICT sector, and has developed a workflow in order to help manage the entire process, in order to give the highest quality of service and satisfaction.
It also designs desktop virtualisation solutions, solar & power back-ups, mobile & SMS value-added services, undertakes IT project management, delivers tools of technology and sustainable computing to people in need, mostly in the rural areas, to transform their lives through better education.
TECHAiDE take a needs-based approach to developing solutions, always focusing on lowering cost of ownership and improved sustainability. The work of TECHAiDE has impacted locals, especially in rural and underserved areas in Ghana and West Africa, through partnerships with Yale University Alumni (USA), Plan International-Ghana, World Vision International-Ghana; CamFed International, UK & Ghana, Students Bridging the Information Gap-USA; World Education-USA & Ghana.