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The Digital Agency for International Development

iSchool - eLearning package

A multi-media eLearning package aimed at improving eLearning content delivery in remote Zambian schools

Sep 2011 to Nov 2012



iSchool is a multi-media eLearning package covering the entire Zambian school curriculum. It requires a robust, reliable infrastructure to deliver this content. iSchool was experiencing issues with students having difficulty finding content using the website, tampering with laptops, unreliable updating of content on the offline school servers, inability to add new content, and lack of remote reliability monitoring of servers. They asked Aptivate for our expertise in solving these difficult technical challenges.



iSchool is also the name of the Zambian non-profit organisation aimed at revolutionising Zambian education by providing fun, interactive lessons for schoolchildren of all ages using IT. The project is currently conducting trials in five schools, and aiming to be used by most schools in Zambia and eventually other African countries. Due to its early stage of trials and ongoing development, no impact data are available.



The iSchool project has been developed in close cooperation with Zambian schools and teachers. Our participation has involved field work in Zambia and close cooperation with technical staff who will need to maintain the system and manage iSchool's operations and business. We also used agile project management to cope with the large list of requirements and deliver the highest business value and the most urgent and essential features, as quickly as possible. Zambian technical staff have been provided with on the job training and ongoing responsibility in managing and monitoring the infrastructure components.



The school servers are made by Soekris Engineering, using Intel Atom processors and solid-state drives for low power consumption and high reliability, and a custom software image based on Voyage Linux (Debian 6.0), lighttpd and squid. The Intel Classmate laptops run Ubuntu 10.04 customised to provide a simpler and more locked-down interface. The central server runs CentOS 5. The content website is developed in PHP using phpunit, Codeigniter, Dwoo and ActiveRecord. The code is currently closed source. Interested developers should contact to apply for a job.