The tech company BRCK is making huge progress in technology and it’s moving with a wave that makes work easier in any given environment. One year ago the company was able to raise $1.2Million that enabled them build the BRCK devices. Today BRCK Education which is a division of BRCK, has launched a relatively cheap tablet that will be running web-based content and locally cached videos.
The tablet is called BRCK – Kio. The portable kit has many components incorporated in it. It’s made up of 40 ruggedized BRCK Kio tablets; a BRCK, which is an internet connectivity device made for low infrastructure environments; wireless charging to reduce breakage, and a hardened, waterproof, lockable case for added security. The kit and everything inside it is ruggedized to be both dust and water resistant.
The tablet can be used by anyone since it doesn’t have any complicated features. The tablet is designed for use by Standard 1 pupils in harsh environments across rural Kenya where there’s no electricity. It can be used for 8 hours without power and it’s tough hence it can’t break even if it falls.
Speaking at the official launch the BRCK Education and the unveiling of the BRCK- Kio and the BRCK-Kio kit, the division’s President Nivi Mukherjee said:
“We are delighted to launch the Kio, which is a breakthrough solution that can run multimedia content and offers a lighter technology footprint with an intuitive interface designed for children. Through it, we are offering limitless opportunities to children who will be exposed to educational information and knowledge that is beyond the four classroom walls. The BRCK-Kio will not only pique children’s curiosity to learn and understand more but also go beyond memorizing education content.” Ms Mukherjee added that, “the BRCK-Kio will transform the role of the teacher from an instructor to a facilitator. We expect that this will have a powerful impact on the way education is delivered not only in Kenya but across Africa and other emerging markets.”
The BRCK Kio Kit provides a “digital classroom in a box” model that connects any school within range of a mobile phone tower to the internet, as well as provides locally hosted content to the Kio tablets within each kit. The Kit is a simple, effective solution which requires minimal training or technical knowledge to setup and use. There is a single plug used to charge the kit and one button to power on the entire system.
“We wanted to take a holistic approach to education, hence the design of an easy to use digital solution that is uniquely tailored for the African environment. We are deploying a content-agnostic solution that allows us to curate localized and culturally relevant digital content that will improve the learning experience and give a digital edge to millions of children across the continent,” BRCK CEO Erik Hersman said.
BRCK Education has entered into partnership with several international and local organisations such as Kenyatta University, Pearson, Intel- Education and e-Limu, Know-Zone, e-Kitabu in an effort to refine the experience of accessing digital content.
The BRCK Kio tablet and BRCK kit are currently manufactured abroad but there are plans to move the assembly and manufacturing operations to Kenya in order to make more cost effective tablets. This will also allow BRCK to scale up their production for roll out across Africa.
“We want to send the message that indeed Kenyans, and Africans in general, have the capacity and skills required to manufacture high-tech, world-class indigenous solutions to the challenges facing the continent and which can also be exported to the rest of the world. All that is required is a conducive environment to facilitate such companies to produce locally,” BRCK founding team member Juliana Rotich added.
The BRCK Kio Kits are available for pre-order while general availability will begin in January 2016. BRCK Education has also signed an agreement with Chase Bank that will see it provide credit facilities to schools that are keen on leveraging technology as an equalizer in achieving academic excellence.