PHOTO CREDIT: MATAI TAGICAKI, FIJI
COL believes that it is possible to reach the unreached through the use of appropriate and affordable technologies. Our Aptus is an exciting innovation that can transform the teaching-learning experience everywhere it is used – even under a tree in a remote, resource-poor location.
An Enabler of Mobile Learning
The Aptus device is a low-cost device that allows educators and learners to connect to digital learning platforms and content without the need for grid electricity or Internet access. This mini-PC requires only battery power which can be recharged via grid power or solar charger, as needed. It can host up to 32GB of educational content and facilitate interactive, virtual learning anywhere – whether in a remote rural village or on a vast university campus. The result is a “Classroom Without Walls” that can be set up within minutes and accessed by any learner with a laptop, tablet or mobile device.
COL developed the original Aptus prototype by repurposing available commercial products to create a new learning concept and was launched in September 2013 by HE Dr Kamalesh Sharma, then-Secretary General of the Commonwealth following a number of iterations. The design and functionality of Aptus continues to evolve based on research, field trials and the deployment of the device in 28 countries to-date, and has seen 5 product generations.
Today, Aptus has proven to fulfill a critically-felt need for access to Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Source software in areas with limited connectivity. As recent as April 2018, COL sent Aptus devices to assist the Ministry of Education, Tonga in restoring classroom teaching in Tongan schools and colleges, following Cyclone Gita, which hit the country in February.
A technology upgrade to provide high performance for at least two years (Generation 6) is expected in late 2018 and a community-building of technical support will also be fostered.
Deployment and Collaboration
COL has deployed Aptus in a number of countries, in collaboration with partners:
- Tonga, Ministry of Education/Tonga Institute of Higher Education (2018)
- Samoa, Ministry of Education (2018)
- India, Mann Deshi Foundation (2016)
- Samoa, National University Samoa (2016)
- Pakistan, Qatar Foundation/ROTA (2016)
- Fiji, Ministry of Education (2015)
- Vanuatu, Ministry of Education (2015)
- Kiribati, Ministry of Education (2015)