Solar-Powered Classrooms for Improved Teaching Methods

New project helps bring IT technology one step closer to pupils in developing countries

By on December 15th, 2011 07:34 GMT

An interesting new project is boosting teaching methods in developing countries, bringing financially-challenged pupils one step closer to a proper education.

Solar-powered classrooms are the next best thing announced by a chemistry academic from the University of Southampton, Science Daily informs.

Quite often, kids can't properly understand new concepts, because rural schools lack appropriate equipment, but also running water and electricity.

Under these circumstances Professor Tony Rest from University of Southampton works in partnership with Keith Wilkinson, who used to work as a teacher at the International School at Lusaka in Zambia to design and implement a cost-effective solar-powered solution to offer poor children unlimited access to suitable teaching methods.

Solar energy generators are now affordable and efficient enough to replace the traditional petrol generators that are quite far from being risk-free. Moreover, they rely on a sustainable resource most developing countries already own and have no problem exploiting: sunlight.

Even though this alternative source of energy can't power common video projectors installed in rural schools, they can provide the power required by a mini-projector that settles for only 50 watts.

The innovative generator relies on solar panels, inverters and batteries and can be easily connected to those mini projectors. In this case, students would be able to learn more in an interactive way, being introduced to multimedia resources and experiments.

This innovation is significantly important, since experts are fully aware that traditional ways of teaching are often boring and less effective than modern ones, combining knowledge with games and interactive activities.

“By extending the breadth of subjects benefiting from the use of IT, the overall cost of using a solar energy generator is reduced. Another spin-off is that students in rural schools gain access to valuable IT skills,” explains Rest. 

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