DRAFT: Converting a Relatively Old Personal Computer into a Windows-based Educational Information Server
and Links to Free Educational Content

Given below is a summary outline of how to convert a relatively old windows-based personal computer into an educational information server as well as links to free educational content and related initiatives.  This outline enables anyone to convert 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”.

A. Some background about software that will be installed in this computer:

Kolibri is an open-source educational platform specially designed to provide offline access to a wide range of quality, openly licensed educational resources in low-resource contexts like rural schools, refugee camps, orphanages, and also in non-formal school programs. Kolibri can serve high quality education materials from several publicly available channels, collections of educational resources (exercises, videos, audio or document files) and associated metadata, prepared and organized for their use in Kolibri. It works in conjunction with Kolibri Studio, the curriculum tool used to organize resources and build custom channels, aligned to the local curricula, or according to specific learning needs.

Kiwix is similar to Kolibri but less educational content available as Kolibri.  Kiwix include Wikipedia for students in multiple languages.

B. Given below are some step-by-step installation guide for people who want to convert personal computers into educational content servers:

0) Select a used laptop computer with these minimum requirements: Microsoft Windows 7 (or higher) operating system, 300 GB hard-drive, Intel Core 5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM.

1) Create a summary of the specification of the selected laptop computer including: Brand, Year Made, Operating System Version, RAM Memory, Hard-drive capacity, etc.  In addition, indicate if it contains MS Office software such as MS Word and MS Excel.  Also include the cost of this laptop.  Then email this information to the customer purchasing this computer.

2) Check that all the computer components including keyboard keys, mouse buttons, and touch pad work properly.

3) Complete a memory check with software (this software may be part of operating system)

4) If Microsoft security essentials for Windows7 in not installed, download it from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5201 and then install it

5) Complete a software scan of the hard drive to check for errors.  See:

a) Windows 7: Check your hard disk for errors in Windows 7
b) Windows 10/11: Select File Explorer in Windows, Select This PC. Right-click or tap-and-hold the drive. Select Properties > Tools > Check > Scan drive.

6) Download and install the kolibri software using this step-by-step guide: Instructions for setting up Kolibri to serve educational information to other devices.  This instruction guide also includes instructions on how to download the information about climate solutions that is contained in the Kolibri channel created by CharityHelp’s partner, Climate Solutions Advancement Network (ClimateSAN)

7) Download and install the kiwix reader using this step-by-step guide: Instructions for setting up Kiwix to serve educational information to other devices.

8) Download and install selected kolibri educational information modules.

9) Download and install the selected Kiwix educational information modules.

10) If the computer does not include MS Office software such as MS Word and MS Excel, download and install a free version of office software such as Libra Office.

11) Set the WiFi hardware on this laptop computer to become a “WiFi Hotspot” so it can serve the educational information in Kolibri and Kiwix to nearby computers, tablets and smart phones via WiFi.  Given below are some options:

a) Microsoft forum: How to enable wifi hotspot in windows 7
b) RottonWifi Blog: How to Share Internet From Laptop to Mobile via WiFi in Windows 7
c) Possible 3rd Party Software for WiFi hotspot: Hotspot Lite – https://apps.microsoft.com/store/detail/hotspot-lite/9NBLGGH52RKN

(Can be used on Windows 10)

12) After WiFi hotspot is turned on, verify that Kolibri and Kiwix are working by doing the following:

a) Connect to hotspot via WiFi from a different personal computer, tablet and/or smartphone. This part is completely
b) Set Kolibri to be in server mode using port 8080 (eg. This part testing
c) Set Kiwix to be in server mode using port 8081 (Note: Kiwix needs to be different port then what Kolibri is using).
d) Use internet browser on a different personal computer, tablet and/or smartphone to view education content served by Kolibri and Kiwix.  Enter the correct address into the URL input box of the browser.  For example: for Kolibri and for Kiwix.

13) Instructions on how to start and use the Educational Information Server: Starting & Using an Educational Information Server (Windows) Rev.2.

C. Documentation and Technical Support Sources:

1) Kolibri Documentation by Learning Equality

2) Online Forum for Kolibri by Learning Equality

3) Online Forum for Kiwix

4) YouTube Video Tutorial: Kolibri Installation and setup on PC

5) YouTube Video Tutorial: Offline. with Kiwix – Quick Introduction

D. Additional Information

1) Create Your Own Custom Content Package

2) Offline Educational Content

3) Server Setup

4) Summaries of Education content

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

5) Recommended Implementation Strategy:

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.

6) 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: CharityHelp.org/cpcw.