BRCK Education is making the school-in-a-box a reality with the Kio Kit, a complete learning tool for teachers. The $5,000 Kio Kit includes 40 tablets, a wireless charging station and a BRCK router that the creators hope can revolutionize low-cost tech-driven education in Africa.
The Kio Kit comes in a lockable, waterproof suitcase with wheels with 40 tablets, a BRCK connected to a mobile server and a charging station for getting power from the grid and through solar power. The Kio tablets connect to the BRCK once turned on to let students access educational resources including textbooks and games.
The Kio Kit offers a micro-cloud or an offline version of the Internet, as Forbes explains, which means students can access interactive content minus the heavy data cost.
The rugged tablet is easy to use and designed for harsh, unfavorable environments where electricity is intermittent and unreliable. Tablets have up to eight hours of battery life and can withstand heavy use including occasional drops (from up to 70cm and onto concrete floor) and spills.
“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,” said Nivi Mukherjee, BRCK Education division president.
With Kio, BRCK Education wants to offer education opportunities beyond a classroom’s four walls. The company hopes it will pique students’ curiosity for learning. The company says:
“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.”
At the moment the Kio tablet and kit are developed overseas, but BRCK wants to bring production and assembly to Kenya to lower cost and enable production scaling once the Kit rolls out.
Other education technology companies and publishers offer their own version of school-in-a-box solutions, among them Barnes & Noble’s Nook which is in classrooms across 400 schools in Kenya with digital textbooks and interactive resources for learning.
Kio, however, is tailored to the conditions in Africa; it is durable, water-resistant and dust-proof. Thanks to wireless charging, there’s no concern over breaking or misplacing charger cords and most importantly, not having to worry about dust and dirt damaging USB connectors. XTCT Africa says:
“Wireless charging may not be super-efficient, but it does mean that the whole kit should last longer.”
One discouraging thing about the Kio Kit is its price tag. A Kio tablet costs $99 and the entire kit costs $5,000. Already Chase Bank Kenya said will offer credit to schools wanting to buy the Kio Kit. The schools will pay in monthly installments of $436 in 12 months and with no interest. But even with these terms, low-income schools cannot afford it, Quartz posits.
The Kio Kits will become available in the beginning of next year and are already available for pre-orders.