Appropedia as a research 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 is bringing 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.

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 which are documented on Appropedia, while developing literature reviews and moving towards a physical design. We aim for these projects to be replicated by people who need to solve real, practical problems in different parts of the world.

Check James Fitzgerald’s rainwater catchment system designed with food security during the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

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

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 are turning 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.

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