Converting an Obsolete Personal Computer into a Linux-based Educational Information Server
and Links to Free Educational Content

Given below is a summary outline of how to convert an obsolete personal computer into a linux-based educational information server as well as links to free educational content and related initiatives.  This outline enables anyone to convert old and likely not-in-use personal computers including laptops to useful tools that can support education for those with unstable or inaccessible WiFi.  When a personal computer’s WiFI hotspot mode is enabled, this computer essentially becomes an “Educational WiFi hotspot”.

Some background: Often old windows-based personal computers are not capable and fast enough to effectively run the latest version of Windows, however, there is an open-source operating system called Linux that can be loaded onto these old computers and enable them to be effective computers again.  As a result, these old (and likely not-in-use) computers can be re-purposed into useful tools that can serve as educational WiFi hotspots, which can serve educational information to people with smartphones, tablets and/or laptops.  Note: If the built-in hardware in a personal computer cannot be set to WiFi hotspot mode, then a USB WiFI adaptor with this capability can be plugged into it.

Given below are some step-by-step installation guides for people who want to convert old (10-15 years) personal computers into educational content servers:

Create Your Own Boot Drive

Basic Linux Install

Create Your Own Custom Content Package

Offline Educational Content

Server Setup

As well, we created these summaries of educational content that have been placed in either Kolibri and Kiwix, which are software platforms that enable a user to conveniently access this type of content offline:

To view, the complete master list of information see: Offline Education Master Sheet

To view, the complete playlist of video guides see: Step by Step Guide Videos

We propose that information technology (IT) specialists configure, set up and maintain the WiFi Educational hotspots computers for others in their community. There already exists considerable technical information and support through online forums from the providers of open-source software and educational content.  Therefore, IT specialists can support their own systems after they follow our set of setup instructions.

Links to information about free educational content:

a) Kolibri Studio, open-source, offline content system: studio.learningequality.org/en/channels/#/public

b) Kiwix, Offline Wikipedia Viewer: https://library.kiwix.org

c) Khan Academy, a non-profit with a mission to provide free education for everyone: khanacademy.org

d) Crash Course, Free online education on a variety of topics: thecrashcourse.com

The above educational content can be assembled in Kolibri and/or Kiwix, so people can download this content into an offline educational information server.  Therefore, we recommend interested organizations consider doing this type of work and if they do, share this content with others online.  This will enable many to download this content to an offline educational information server that is running the Kolibri and/or Kiwix software, which will allow others to access this content easily offline via Wifi or a wired ethernet connection.

Alternative free educational content:

a) Onecourse, one app that delivers reading, writing and numeracy: onebillion.org/onecourse/app

b) Rachel, free content packaged for offline use: rachel.worldpossible.org

To access this webpage, visit: ClimateSAN.org/col.