Appropedia as a research tool in education

Updates

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.

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Check James Fitzgerald’s rainwater catchment system designed with food security during the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. https://www.appropedia.org/James_Fitzgerald_covid_rainwater_project

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. https://www.appropedia.org/Ameyali

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.

In memory of Paul Polak

Updates

Last month, we received the news of the passing of Paul Polak, an entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience supporting the underserved. We send our condolences to his loved ones, and hope that his legacy lives on for the community that works on creating a more sustainable world.

For many years, Paul worked on developing and selling products that were cheap, durable and usable for people at the base of the pyramid. He also supported us during the creation of The Appropedia Foundation, for which we are deeply grateful to him. We feel honored to have him as an ally of our work.

A couple of years ago Lonny had the opportunity to record a series of interviews with Paul, speaking about his experience alleviating poverty through appropriate technology. Watch the interview below:

–Emilio Velis

New Executive Director Appointed!

Updates

Dear Appropedians!

Three years ago we announced our search for a person to take over the operations of our ever-growing community and repository of projects. Today we are happy to announce that we have finally found that person, and he began his work on June 20th. Please join us in welcoming Emilio Velis as our new Executive Director.

Emilio developed his previous professional career over the past ten years on volunteer management and fundraising, most recently at Habitat for Humanity El Salvador. Emilio supported the design and improvement of programs for service-learning and ethical volunteerism, as well as other areas such as innovation and social resiliency. At the same time, he founded and developed Red de Acción Comunitaria, a technological initiative of sensors and communications to empower rural communities in areas vulnerable to natural disasters. More recently, Emilio has focused on design and community engagement as the basis for collaborating in research for a wide variety of subjects such as citizen science, education and violence prevention.

For the past few years, Emilio has participated on different networks that focus on openness and collaboration such as Internet Society, the Fab Lab Network and Creative Commons through local and international projects and governance. His work has opened the doors for him to collaborate on many different projects to explore with others the use of technologies for solving social problems in North and South America.

Our Board of Directors was very impressed with Emilio after seeing his experience, dedication, and track record on how technology and communities can build sustainability through well-focused programs of design and participation. He has also shown his commitment to not only making open works more accessible to people who need them, but also on learning how to best provide communities with the tools to make and share as equals and co-participants of the commons. Now that we have met him, we are very hopeful for the future of Appropedia and unanimously and confidently appointed him.

As the new Executive Director, Emilio is eager to work closely with the community in learning what motivates individuals and communities to document their local projects, and to find avenues on which these initiatives take life through replication and growth. As Appropedia grows and develops new ideas, he is committed to creating an open space for different groups that take part and benefit from the thousands of articles and many experiences created by the community.

We believe that having a new Executive Director dedicated to the operations of the site and the execution of the many ideas that Appropedia has built over the years will open the possibility for the community to grow even more. He will base his work in San Salvador from which he will find new opportunities of social change through the Appropedia Foundation.

The Board of Directors and the community warmly welcomes Emilio into Appropedia.


Thank you,

Lonny, Chris, Curt, Andrew & Kiva

Please excuse the minimalist blog

Updates

This blog was hacked and infected with malware, so we deleted it and restored it from a clean text backup.

It will be at least several days until I can do full backup, so until then comments are restricted, photos are missing, and every post is shown as being authored by me, even when it wasn’t. On the plus side – no malware! And we promise to fix our security settings so that this never happens again.

Thanks Lonny, for the enormous amount of work you’ve been doing on the server recently, including fixing this bout of malware. We look forward to raising funds and affording a separate tech person rather than having the Appropedia Foundation president working the server!