Welcome to The Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network

From Discussion to Action: Building Offline Digital Libraries as an Action-Oriented Community Event to Frame Our Shared Global Future

November 6, 2021 at 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Arizona, USA

Half of the world is developing technologically at an unprecedented rate, while the other half remains unconnected–without access to the internet or opportunities for advancement and 21st century skill-building. How does this growing gap impact our shared humanity and shared futures? As technology becomes increasingly critical for learning and developing foundational skills, from reading to finding new information to discerning if a source is credible, we must include the half of the world that remains offline. Access to information and the skills to turn information into knowledge are essential for developing and maintaining empathy for others, especially those in diverse historical and cultural contexts. Arizona State University (ASU) SolarSPELL’s offline digital libraries can play a key role in meeting this central human need and reaching learners in remote locations.

SolarSPELL proposed to host Build Day in-person at the ASU Polytechnic Campus. This event included a discussion-oriented presentation and workshop, action-oriented building experience, and wrap up discussion. Students and community members learned about the SolarSPELL initiative and the complex global challenges to which our work is responding. With this foundational understanding, volunteers then learned how to assemble the SolarSPELL digital library hardware, including learning new skills from drilling holes into the waterproof plastic case, to cutting and stripping wires, to attaching velcro to the Raspberry Pi micro-computer. After building 50+ SolarSPELL digital libraries, the day wrapped up with lunch and a broader discussion about the role of technology, our shared global futures, and the growing divide between the half of the world that is hyper connected and the 4 billion that never have.