Appropedia as a research open-source tool in education


As many higher education institutions are quickly moving into designing and implementing online versions of their courses for students who are stuck at home, we have also seen the changes that education brings to the table at these times.

This is why I’d love to talk a bit about how Appropedia has managed to engage thousands of students in higher education courses through research and design for more than fifteen years.

Appropedia Founder Lonny Grafman did a TEDx talk regarding his experience as an educator with a hands-on approach. Much of this involved the use of Appropedia with his students.

How can Appropedia help students?

Besides being a large repository of open-source appropriate technology, Appropedia has served as an aid for online learning, for many years. Since its beginning, professors have used Appropedia as a way to guide their students to learn by doing, with a self-guided approach that allows students to adopt an article where they will write during a course.

Students will usually focus on a specific problem such as water quality, food security, sustainable agriculture, or health, working through a process where they learn about past projects and experiences documented on Appropedia while developing literature reviews and moving towards a physical design.

We aim for these open-source projects to be replicated by people who need to solve real, practical problems in different parts of the world.

Our most recent projects have focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have explored, from their homes, how people worldwide be safe, prevent infections, and solve their basic needs with cheap and feasible solutions.

Ameyali handwashing station design, an approach to cheap handwashing in the developing world by Fátima Landáver, Andrea Pinzón, Génesis Tenorio and Jorge Mira.

As students turn in their work from home, designing and implementing open-source solutions is a good way to contribute to a more sustainable future for their own communities.