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Every child deserves light
Light for learning, light for jobs, light for the future.
Mission: The Sonlig project provides a science kit and curriculum introducing learners to solar energy and allows them to build something functional and personal. The process will engage the learner in a purposeful inquiry based learning experience, challenge them to build their own personal solar energy system and inspire them to develop new knowledge and skills. We aim to provide learners with 21st century technology in areas where energy poverty is a barrier to access. Without access to electricity there is no access to technology. Many of us take energy and technology access for granted but simple solutions can be implemented to provide energy access regardless of location.
Background: Sonlig comprises three Technology in Education students in an online globally focused Master’s program at the University of Michigan-Flint. The team formed during the program’s 2011 residency in Geneva, Switzerland where the group met with Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter of Learning Academy WorldWide. He explained his work with the M-Ubuntu project in South Africa; which uses recycled phones as mobile learning devices to improve literacy and numeracy in South African schools. Sonlig recognized a need for a charging device to enable the M-Ubuntu mobile learning initiative to be replicated in rural schools where there is no ready access to electricity for recharging. The team conceived the idea to develop a solar energy science kit that would allow students to learn about the potential for solar energy. Participation in the Sonlig project allows each learner to build a functioning system that recharges their mobile learning device and provide light. The light was added to the sonlig charger to provide a clean source of light for studying and to reduce the harmful affects that kerosene and paraffin light sources have on a family’s health.
Strategy:Throughout project development the project team uses the design thinking process to rapidly prototype ideas and iterate the project based on feedback. Currently the team is focusing on an introductory curriculum, product development, and a student assembly pilot. Feedback from each phase will inform development of the project as we move toward our second residency in Geneva, Switzerland July 2012.