The Digital Library Project provides a simple way to serve a wide variety of essentially static web content in a classroom situation where there is no Internet connection, just using re-purposed low cost WiFi router devices. Students can access the content via a web browser on client devices such as PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Teachers can easily share local files via USB.
Going a step further, LearningEquality.org have developed the Kolibri learning platform, which provides a wide range of content from an on-line library, including Khan Academy in various languages. As well as the static content, the library modules may include exercise and test worksheets for students to complete. The students’ progress may be recorded and presented as a variety of reports to the students and teachers. There is also an on-line Kolibri Studio facility that supports the creation of new library content. Thus the Kolibri system provides a more complete learning platform.
The Kolibri system will run on a range of platforms from single board computers through to Linux and Windows servers. A good single board computer and WiFi will support a class of 30 or so students, making it possible to target a $100 classroom implementation.
Low Cost Platforms
The RPi4 device is an obvious target platform and is directly supported by LearningEquality.org, however the cost and availablilty have been problematic for some time.
Quadra is a small Linux based device developed by Inovato.com. It is based on the Turewell T95 Mini device originally sold as an Android TV set top box, and uses an Allwinner H6 SoC Quad-Core Cortex-A53 ARM CPU with 2Gb RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage, running the Armbian Debian 11 (Buster) 64bit operating system.
This device makes an adequate, low cost classroom micro-server for the Kolibri system when equipped with suitable SD card storage and WiFi.
Inovato provide the Quadra device with the operating system already loaded into internal eMMC memory.
We have produced image files that contain the Quadra system with Kolibri pre-installed and ready to run. These image files can be downloaded and burned onto a suitable SD card in order to run the Kolibri system from SD card rather than the limited internal memory. (A Kolibri system with a full installation of Khan Academy can easily exceed 64GB in size.)
This approach means that the original Quadra system is not modified, and if the system is booted without the SD card it will boot to the original operating system.
Caution: It is possible to purchase the T95 Mini and T95 Maxi devices directly from various marketplaces, however the hardware design can change considerably. In particular it is necessary to ensure that the CPU is Allwinner H6, and not the alternative H616 which is not compatible.
Firmware files for Quadra-Kolibri and associated documentation are available for download here:
There is a wide variety of Android TV boxes available on the market. The Inovato Quadra device has the advantage of an additional layer of QA and testing, and so should be quite reliable. On the other hand, it is a minimal platform for classroom use, and there are devices available with more powerful CPUs and additional RAM that will provide a more capable Kolibri platform. We are looking into these devices and will publish additional firmware as appropriate. LearningEquality.org also provide excellent documentation for generic implementations, including for the RPi4 device.
A95X F3 AIR Device
Another Android TV box that we have found that has very good performance is the A95X F3 Air device. This device is based on the Amlogic S905X3 Quad-core A55 CPU with 4GB RAM and 32GB ROM.
Firmware and documentation for using this device with Kolibri installed is available here:
Caution: When purchasing these devices, make sure that the CPU type is S905X3, as there are other variants that are not compatible.