Grants talk:PEG/Aislinn Dewey/Distribute WikiReaders to Schools

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GAC members who have read this request but had no comments[edit]

  1. . I have no more comments. I think the proposal at its current state it's a go. 212.2.26.98 06:12, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
    Hello! Would you mind signing your comment, assuming you are a member of the GAC? Thanks! Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 20:50, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
  1. I'm not in favour of this proposal yet. It seems like a great idea, but It's simply too much money to be spent without implementing a pilot project first. This means, all the explanation given on how this works (distribution, monitoring and completion of the project), I would like to see first implemented at a small scale, because is a big sum to let this project fail (and this is possible to happen). At the same time it's also too much money for the GAC: It would be, on it's own, the biggest amount of money requested ever, being over USD 100,000 being requested only five times before. This only gets close to the annual plan of SE; and its over 33% the budget of annual plans of AR (including the Program Plan), NL and AT; three times the cost of this year Wikimedia Conference and the RS annual plan; and six times HU annual plan, which gives you an idea to also think about the amount requested.--3BRBS (talk) 15:07, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
    1. Thanks for the feedback, I know its a lot to ask for a grant without hard evidence to support in terms of a pilot - however there are examples of these devices being used in schools, for instance at the project site we selected in India. I adjusted my grant to focus this first 1,000 devices distributed to be the pilot and will follow up with a second grant proposal to buy all remaining WikiReaders from the manufacturer based on the pilot's success.
If the pilot project is USD 100,000... I still think is too much. If it's a pilot project, you should start small, and since the size of this project, I would say.... very very small. Problably around the money you have gathered in indiegogo would be a good first step, after you get actual results, you move further up.--3BRBS (talk) 22:52, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
I have one question. How many students that are able to read have each of the schools selected (School in rural town outside of Mexico City and school in Uttar Pradesh India)?--3BRBS (talk) 13:53, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
The Mexico school has 115 students plus 10 teachers, the India school has 700 students, 250 of which are reading level and 40 teachers that are interested in using the devices for their lesson plans. We have a third site in Ethiopia we would also like to provide devices to in this pilot if we are able to get coordination help on the ground from a NGO.
Ok, let's add: 250 students in India (at reading level) + Teachers in India that actually teach at the reading level [6? (please confirme this number)] + students at reading level in Mexico [is it 115? (please confirm this number)] + Teachers in Mexico that actually teach at the reading level [3? (please confirm this number)], I belive that maybe not more than 374 wikireaders should be founded then. This would get closer to a pilot project for me. The numbers must be accurate, students in reading age + teachers that teach in those classes = amount of wikireaders needed. Total to be funded USD 7.480 (374 units * USD 20).--3BRBS (talk) 04:57, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
3BRBS Good point. I've adjusted the pilot to include only 500 devices. We had asked for 1,000 to make sure we had enough to support India, Mexico and a 3rd project site currently being identified (potentially Ethiopia). The total estimated for both students and teachers for Mexico is 100, India for 290 and approx. 110 for our third site.
Ok, we are getting to an actual concrete project. Before being in favor of this, I would like to see a real (and precise) number of devices needed, not a rounded total. Over that we can add a % for devices that can fail, or be given due to exceptional underestimated conditions, this % should be low. If you have no concrete school in Ethiopia, then we should focus on Mexico and India, and show the accurate numbers of students at reading age, and number of teachers teching those kids. Best! --3BRBS (talk) 16:19, 10 June 2013 (UTC)"
Thanks 3BRBS for the question. I updated the description once again. We've finalized our third site in Capetown, finalized total devices needed and included a buffer for replacement devices.
I'm moving my comment here now, at the present state of the project, I have no further observations. I think it was really clever to add the money collected in the campaign since shows the commitment towards the idea, so both the grantee and the donnors money work togheter. Also, the delay on adding the aditional countdown of devices, despiste not being as accurate as I would have liked to, reaches a managable and reasonable number of devices, and maybe gives a hint that this task/project is not going to be as simple as --maybe-- originally it was tought to be. You have my support on this now! :)--3BRBS (talk) 18:44, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

GAC members who have read the request and are currently studying the proposal[edit]

  1. .

GAC members who have read, studied and concluded their assessment (of) the proposal[edit]

  1. I'm against. We can do a great things in the global south rather than "spending" 300$K on WikiReaders. Just to give a child a device, don't make it a distribution of knowledge. --Itzike (talk) 14:06, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
  2. The comment that follows by Notafish was related to the comment I moved to the prior section.--3BRBS (talk) 19:04, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
  3. I have to say I am very much with 3BRBS here. I find the idea interesting, but without having seen the pilot project(s)' results, I find it hard to support the funding of so many units right off the bat. I think this must be revised in a first stage to supplement the 3000 USD gathered on indiegogo in order to implement the pilots effectively, and then later maybe for the large scale deployment. Also I am just not understanding how the prices can go up if less than X are bought. If the units have already been produced, they have a fixed cost, which can't vary with the number you buy (except if the shipping makes the difference, but I doubt very much that shipping will vary by 5 USD per piece if you buy 9999 or 10000. This just does not make sense to me. notafish }<';>
    1. Notafish, thanks for your feedback. I have re-framed the proposal to simply support the pilot and supplement the Indiegogo campaign. Its a clean first step to show impact. The reduction in price by volume estimate was given to us by the manufacturer which is basically how much loss the company is willing to take. The actual cost to make these are $31 direct from the manufacturer so we are getting them below cost and in a more updated state (larger memory card and custom language install) than those commercially available on Amazon. The difference in cost by volume was basically how much a cut below cost the manufacturer is willing to take. Shipping we have estimated separately from device cost knowing it could be higher or lower based on how difficult it is to get the devices to certain remote areas. Please see the comment from Openmoko (device maker below) in the Cost and Distribution section. --206.169.144.70 20:41, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
      Thank you for the added info and answers. notafish }<';> 20:03, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  4. . My final thoughts about this is that I agree it's worth venturing to this as a pilot, but would not suggest funding of more than 500 WikiReaders as such a pilot, to test the viability of your plans. I also urge you to put into the proposal some form of reporting so that WF/FDC know what the experiences are, at the end of the year. It's missing right now... under these limitations, I'm all for it. Otherwise, I can't say I'm too supportive. Sorry. NLIGuy (talk) 23:04, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
    1. We do have reporting in our proposal. We are going to measure and supply worksheet surveys and documentation of the project. We have school faculty and our NGO partner that are willing to help us measure and share out progress over time. We at least want to be able to buy enough quantity for our 3 pilot sites which would require about 500 WikiReaders to give to both students and teachers.
      1. Hi, I have nothing to add to this proposal at this point. I think it's OK now. Good luck! 212.2.26.98 06:12, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
  • While I acknowledge that this has now been scaled down to a pilot, I simply don't think the idea will scale that well even if the pilot were successful. The amount of money required to have even a moderate aggregate impact would be significant, and I'm sure that money could be much more efficiently deployed to give the same result for more children, than by forking out to give them all whizz-bang gadgets. As a result I'm afraid that I can't support this. Craig Franklin (talk) 12:43, 10 June 2013 (UTC).

GAC members who abstain from comment/vote[edit]

  1. .

Comments[edit]

Hi,

3 questions and one concern:

  1. The budget is unclear. If you want to buy 15 000 units for 20 USD each it gives you 300.000 USD. Then you claim that "Four Postage paid packets at $75 a piece (one per school)" - Does it mean that you want to send all those 15 000 units to 4 schools only??? It means 3750 units per school... If you want to send the units to more schools - than you should calculate cost of shipment. Also: you can buy Wikireader for 15 USD from amazon.com: [1] + free shipments. I guess for mass purchase the price should be maybe 10 USD per item, not 20... Especially because Wikireaders are in fact not very popular product - read my general concern.
    1. Thanks for your feedback. The estimate for shipping materials to measure impact was a ballpark and would change based on the number of schools we distribute to. We are aiming to distribute to at least two areas and ideally four for our pilot. Mexico, India, Ghana and Ethiopia are areas that expressed interest in using these devices in remote schools with little or no internet access. The shipping cost is an estimate that we thought was reasonable based on the taxes charged to distribute to hard to reach areas and we feel will not lead to access. If thats the case, we would buy more WikiReaders with any surplus funds. As to the current commercial price on Amazon, that is for older WikiReaders with smaller memory cards and only a few year old version of English Wikipedia. Buying from the manufacturer, we've negotiated to get 8GB memory cards, batteries, shipping and a custom language install of these devices for $25 which is well below cost to make. WikiReaders are not popular in the developed world because most people have internet and smartphones or tables that allow easy continuous access to Wikipedia. These really are designed for simple quick access in power and internet-deprived areas. They have not yet really been distributed where they could have the most use.
  2. You write that you want to distribute units via chapters. Have you already contacted any? Are they interested? Which ones specifically? Are they ready to participate in at least costs of distribution and screening the educational effect of the project?
    1. Yes, we have contacted the Mexico chapter and the India chapter. We are waiting to hear back from India, however have a strong contact their that most likely can be our ally. The Mexico chapter has agreed to help distribute and potentially demonstrate to the teachers how to use the devices and measure impact over time. Our aim is to leverage these networks as much as possible as the goal of spreading Wikipedia's knowledge to those most in need of it aligns with the goals of chapter volunteers in many areas we want to reach with these devices.
  3. Who is going to take cost of batteries, and replacement of broken/not working units? Are they sold with batteries? It is hard to find out this information on their website [2].
    1. Thanks for the question. Batteries are included with these devices. The construction (hardware and mechanical) of these devices are very simply designed and most can be fixed by a local cellphone repair shop. If need be, our project contacts in the selected schools can mail the devices back to the manufacturer or project organizers.

The concern: My concern is about the WikiReader itself. I have one, I tested it usefullnes with my children. For them it was rather boring item - black and white screen, no sound, just a text. The only application they have found for it was cheating - however for this purpose WikiReader is too large ;-) But OK - they have access to nice laptops, smartphones etc.. and I think this is the reason why WikiReader is not popular in US, Japan or EU, especially when you can download free off-line version of Wikipedia on your smartphone [3]. Anyway, as educational tool the WikiReader has very limited usefulness... Do you have any clear ideas (maybe lessons scenarios?) how exactly WikiReader can improve education process? WikiReader is sold with English Wikipedia - are you about to load other available language versions yourself, or the company will do it for you? Loading the other language version on SD card takes around 10-15 min. for each item if you have already downloaded the updater and selected language version. My WikiReader works fine - but if you check people's comments on Amazon [4] - they quite often complain about the quality of this product. So, you may expect that quite substantial number of WikiReaders won't be working properly. Polimerek (talk) 10:18, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

    1. Thanks Polimerek for your comment. Its very hard for us in a developed nation to imagine the value of such an object. Children in Capetown slums use WIkipedia on their cellphone to do homework with, teachers in St.Anthony's in Uttar Pradesh use WikiReaders to plan their lessons with, and there are many instances of offline Wikipedia through e-Readers of computers running Kiwix to provide an immense amount of learning material and substance than was ever present in areas with little access to books and technology. Its understandable that children here would not find it a compelling user experience - it really isn't designed for that audience. Its in replacement of 10 year old text books and very little written knowledge of world history, events, politics, etc. Scenarios we think will be most useful are for schools with middle-school to high-school aged students that give WikiReaders as tool to do homework with and in parallel for their teachers to better plan curriculum and lessons with. As to the language installation, we have commitment from the manufacturer to install a language we specify - so for our Mexico site, we most likely will send that school Spanish Wikipedia based on the schools input. This first proposal is a pilot too, so we can learn how we can best tailor distribution to fit more defined curriculum scenarios if we find teachers are not able to do this themselves.

Cost and distribution[edit]

Hi, thank you for submitting the proposal! I have many questions, but for the time being I will limit them to two:

  1. Why distribute to only four locations? from the proposal I can only gather that the locations were selected almost randomly and on the basis of previous acquaintance etc. In order to be sure you're not simply moving surplus items from one storage to another, I think a more thorough distribution plan is needed. This also reflects some of the points raised by Polimerek.
    1. This proposal is for a pilot and the sites chosen were based on expressed need from teachers or non-profits that found out about the campaign and have a genuine interest in incorporating them into their student and teacher's educational experience, it certainly isn't random. We decided for the pilot not to initially expand to Ethiopia and Ghana due to more time needed to work through logistics distribution the devices and measure impact longterm. Based on project success, we can continue expanded the distribution plan to further increase access in areas of limited resources and internet access.
  2. "Purchase at cost" - a price-tag of 20$ means someone is making profit on this. I went ahead and checked a bit about OpemMoko and the Wikireader, and it seems to me that the costs are 15$ or less. A 30% profit margin is something to be considered, and also disclosed when making such a grant proposal. Unless I'm wrong, it seems to me that the partnership in a 20$ price is more beneficial to OpenMoko than to anyone else.

NLIGuy (talk) 13:36, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Let me reply to the cost / price question: I ran Openmoko, Inc. and handled negotiations with the manufacturer (Pegatron) that built WikiReader. The Bill-of-Materials (BOM) was $31. (Our initial price target was retail $99). The fact that you see WikiReaders for sale at sub-$15 is a consequence of a distributor going out of business and liquidating inventory. In this specific case, I have negotiated a one-time sale of around $15 per unit to support the project. The price will go up/down a few dollars based on quantity and the software needed to be preinstalled. But I can assure you nobody is making any money on this. --Moskovich (talk) 10:08, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Fully clarified.NLIGuy (talk) 23:04, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Value for Money[edit]

Thanks for submitting this request. I am somewhat concerned with the value for money that this proposal represents. For a very hefty chunk of money ($300k), it appears that you plan to distribute Wikireaders to a small number of schools in developing countries. While this will no doubt be beneficial to children lucky enough to attend those particular schools, I do feel that this is just a drop in the bucket and there may be more cost-effective ways to assist kids in developing countries (for instance, sending Wikireaders to the teachers in a much wider number of schools to assist them with developing coursework). I have very serious doubts that this proposal as it stands is an efficient use of the movement's resources, sorry. Craig Franklin (talk) 14:01, 1 June 2013 (UTC).

    1. Thanks for the feedback Craig. We have adjusted the proposal to focus on our initial pilot. After completion, we will measure the impact and follow up with a grant to purchase any remaining WikiReaders. The number of pilot schools is small, but the number of students and communities impacted is high. Although the reach may seem small, our project will give access to knowledge to children that have never had it readily accessible in their pocket - all while avoiding the liquidation of a device already designed for their school and environment's needs. The devices are already here, they aren't being used when they could so although there are always bigger and better systemic ways to create change, we feel simply connecting kids and teachers to existing pocket encyclopedias that will otherwise be wasted is a win-win situation.

Comment from Slventura[edit]

Hi, The proposal for the pilot at it stands seems perfectly viable. The purpose of a pilot is to create proof of concept and allow for proper calibration before scaling. The project manager has been diligent and has responded to the issues raised thoroughly. I fully support this project, this is a good use for these devices and a way to engage a new generation of users. thank you. Slventura (talk) 22:15, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments and for engaging with the discussion, Slventura! That section where you commented is for GAC members, and so I've just moved this comment down here to another section. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:13, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Measures of success / Assessments[edit]

The project has been sized down to a size that makes it easier for me to support it as a pilot project, with the hope that this will become something bigger. For what it's worth, I am not a big fan of getting Wikipedia to schools/kids in developing countries (let's say I am a bit afraid of bringing "POV" – yes I know, Wikipedia is supposed to be NPOV – to countries where the lack of editors make it hard to get all sides of a story). However, I do think a pilot project of this sort is really something that could give a boost to such initiatives and allow to adjust Wikimedia's overall vision of what can be done where. This said, while I find the measures of success ok, I would like to see more of them. From the way they are listed there, one could actually just ask the plain question "How do you rate your experience with the wikireader, good or bad" and be done with the assesment. I think it might be interesting to think a bit about how the questionnaires (which I suppose are what will be used to conduct the assesments) will be developped: is there a particular method behind them, are you getting help making them so that they're relevant across the three sites but also within each country, if yes, how? etc. I'm nitpicking a bit, but I would really like to see an extremely comprehensive assessment/reporting of this that will serve not only this project, but many more to come. Cheers. notafish }<';> 20:14, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the question Notafish. We are collaborating with teachers to help develop the reporting methods and materials that provide guidance for use of the devices. We are happy to share the the reporting questionnaires and training materials as they're developed from now until our distribution date in August. --Ashstar01 (talk) 18:44, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Increase budget to support unexpected import tax South Africa school must pay[edit]

I am requesting an addition $290 to enable the school in South Africa to receive their devices. It wasn't expected that there would be a tariff as this is for a non-profit project - but the government there is deciding otherwise.

The India school has covered their tariff on their own as they are a non-profit and has funds to do so. The Mexico school is waiting to receive their devices and may or may not need some assistances as well.

In the near term, the funds for South Africa to pay this tariff is an immediate need. Please let me know as soon as possible if this increase can be granted.

Yes, this is approved. We shall discuss arrangements to wire the additional funds by e-mail. Once the final amount is known (possibly including Mexico), we shall also update the grant amount in the grant page. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 18:29, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
The final amount requested to pay the customs for all three schools (partially re-imbursing India and paying all fees for Mexico and South Africa) is $1608.76. Customs documentation will be submitted in the final grant report appendix for review by others.

Ashstar01 (talk) 21:10, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

The addition is approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 21:29, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Extend grant deadline to Jan 1st due to delay in device delivery due to customs hold[edit]

Requesting an extension of the delivery date of the final grant report to Jan 1, 2014 as the devices arrived later than anticipated due to being held up at customs.

The extension is approved. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 00:49, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
We can grant an extended completion date of 1 November 2014 so that your grant report is due by 1 January 2015. Do you mean to request that the report is due by 1 January 2015? If so we can approve that. Thanks, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 17:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
I realized I typed 2014 for the original grant due date not 2013, it was supposed to be complete Nov 2013 (its only a 3 month pilot). I am requesting extension till January 2014. Is that clear? Ashstar01 (talk) 17:43, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing that - I felt like there was something I was missing! The extension of the completion date to 1 November 2014 is approved, and your report will be due by 1 January 2015. Can you provide us with an updated start date as well so that we have a better idea of the total length of the grant term? Thank you, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 17:37, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
I think you're still misunderstanding. The pilot will end Dec 2013 and the report will be handed in Jan 2014 (this coming Jan). I am not changing the start date as the planning and coordination did start when I set it on the grant detail section. I am simply extending the end date to have time to prepare the report after getting materials back around Dec from the schools. Total grant length would then equate to July 2013 - Jan 2014 (about 7 months). Ashstar01 (talk) 17:43, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
OK! Can you provide me with an exact completion date for the project including a day, month, and a year? Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 17:51, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Course, Jan 15th, 2014. Thanks! Ashstar01 (talk) 17:56, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, Ash. Sorry for the extended conversation. Do you want to set your report due date on that same day? Thanks, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:07, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
At grantee's request, the new completion date is 30 December 2013 and the new reporting deadline is 15 January 2014. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Request extension on report due date[edit]

Hi there, Still waiting to receive the final round of surveys from the schools as they were shut during the holidays. I would like to change the report due date to Feb 1st, 2014.

Thank you for letting us know about the expected delay. This change to the reporting schedule is granted. Please submit your report by 1 February 2014. Best regards, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 19:34, 2 January 2014 (UTC)