There are several excellent computer-based educational software packages that are available online, free of charge. You can either install them yourself individually, or combine them for maximum benefit.
Our passion for education led us to reach out to educators and others in the community, and for years we worked alongside WorldPossible.org, who created the RACHEL education bundle. Through the years, we worked together to create several easy-to-use, deployable solutions that could bring educational resources to anyone with a smartphone or laptop, even if they didn’t have an Internet connection. We spent years advancing rugged hardware solutions for RACHEL, and recently we’ve partnered with WorldPossible and moved our education projects there. Please visit their site for project updates, downloads and ready-built educational solutions.
This page outlines some of the historical background that served as the foundation for our education initiative.
What software is available?
There are loads of free resources available. Our “Free Computer-based Educational Software Roundup” page outlines packages our educators say is the most useful. It includes software from Khan Academy, Wikipedia, The Goodwill Community Foundation, CK-12 and more. However, these packages all require a decently fast Internet connection. If you don’t have an Internet connection, or it’s expensive or slow, you’ll want to download offline copies of this material. The “Roundup” page also lists offline alternatives put together by the folks at World Possible (RACHEL), Learning Equality (Ka-Lite) and more.
What is the best combination of software?
- Khan Academy with exercises, tracking and MUCH more thanks to the Learning Equality Ka-Lite team.
- Wikipedia for Schools (included with RACHEL)
- Technology training, English as a Second Language and more (thanks to GCFLearnFree)
- An e-book library from Project Gutenberg (included with RACHEL)
- Textbooks from CK-12 (included with RACHEL)
- Village health guides from Hesperian (included with RACHEL)
How can I install this software myself?
There are several options:
- Create a portable version on a USB flash drive. First, download RACHEL and install it on a USB drive. You’ll need a 32gb drive for standard RACHEL or a 64gb drive with RACHEL+GCFLearnFree. Follow the instructions here. This will give you a portable version of RACHEL and GCFLearnFree that can be used on various machines. This does not activate Khan exercises and reports, since Ka-Lite is not installed, nor can it be installed on a USB stick. If you want Ka-Lite, follow these steps to install Ka-Lite on any machine. You will need to download the Khan videos separately or move (or link) them from RACHEL.
- Install RACHEL on a Raspberry Pi device following the instructions here. Follow the steps to install the Linux version of Ka-Lite on the Raspberry Pi (be sure to follow the Pi optimization steps). You will need to download the Khan videos separately or move or link them from RACHEL. Update index.html as needed. This will provide wireless access to RACHEL, GCF and Ka-Lite content to any device that supports a wi-fi connection.
- Install any of the packages separately on your own machine. Follow the how-to for RACHEL, GCFLearnFree and Ka-Lite installations.
This is too hard. Can you do it for me?
That’s an option, too. Head over to our partners at WorldPossible for some pre-built options.