May 10, 2012
The Broken Kindle Problem: An African Aid Program Runs Into Trouble

Getting textbooks into classrooms can be expensive and challenging anywhere, all the more so in rural sub-Saharan Africa — where those textbooks are in direly short supply. In five African schools a non-profit organization called Worldreader is piloting a high-tech solution: a Kindle for every student. Though the initial cost is higher than a set of textbooks, it’s much easier to add new textbooks and offer a huge variety of content.
Worldreader has already distributed a thousand Kindles to schoolkids in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana, each already stocked with hundreds of e-books: everything from storybooks and “Easy English Learning for Junior High School” to Crime and Punishment. They’ve particularly worked to make books by local authors available, by establishing publishing partnerships with Ghanaian and Kenyan publishers.
But there’s some irony in the fact that the top item on the list of Worldreader books is a short story called “E is for E-Waste.” School children didn’t just get to read about e-waste, they got an unanticipated firsthand education in the delicate lifecycle of electronics. Over the course of the pilot study in Ghana, 40.5 percent of the Kindles broke. In their report (pdf) Worldreader called this breakage rate “unexpectedly high”; Andrew Webster of The Verge called it ”a surprisingly large amount.” […]
A broken Kindle is disappointing, yes. Expensive, yes. But unexpected? How could it be?
Read more. [Image: Worldreader]

The Broken Kindle Problem: An African Aid Program Runs Into Trouble

Getting textbooks into classrooms can be expensive and challenging anywhere, all the more so in rural sub-Saharan Africa — where those textbooks are in direly short supply. In five African schools a non-profit organization called Worldreader is piloting a high-tech solution: a Kindle for every student. Though the initial cost is higher than a set of textbooks, it’s much easier to add new textbooks and offer a huge variety of content.

Worldreader has already distributed a thousand Kindles to schoolkids in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana, each already stocked with hundreds of e-books: everything from storybooks and “Easy English Learning for Junior High School” to Crime and Punishment. They’ve particularly worked to make books by local authors available, by establishing publishing partnerships with Ghanaian and Kenyan publishers.

But there’s some irony in the fact that the top item on the list of Worldreader books is a short story called “E is for E-Waste.” School children didn’t just get to read about e-waste, they got an unanticipated firsthand education in the delicate lifecycle of electronics. Over the course of the pilot study in Ghana, 40.5 percent of the Kindles broke. In their report (pdf) Worldreader called this breakage rate “unexpectedly high”; Andrew Webster of The Verge called it ”a surprisingly large amount.” […]

A broken Kindle is disappointing, yes. Expensive, yes. But unexpected? How could it be?

Read more. [Image: Worldreader]

  1. themonstermuffin reblogged this from npr
  2. mrsclare reblogged this from npr and added:
    interesting and tough to let influence the spread of e-readers to the 3rd world. a blessing and a potential curse? Gee,...
  3. tony-valderrama reblogged this from npr
  4. overlystoked reblogged this from npr
  5. wy-thoughts reblogged this from npr
  6. blackberrypride reblogged this from npr and added:
    This is so interesting.
  7. progeneering reblogged this from npr
  8. webofwonder reblogged this from dynamicafrica
  9. cincuentaydos reblogged this from npr and added:
    Awesome idea, but poorly executed.
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  13. keruth reblogged this from npr and added:
    Things to think about when trying to increase literacy rates in developing areas… I also remember reading an article...
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