Internet access in developing countries can be prohibitively expensive and cumbersome (e.g., thousands of dollars per month for speeds that often are less than dial-up). Now imagine if someone identified a wealth of high-quality educational materials on the Internet, downloaded them using web site 'scraping' software, and then made them available on an inexpensive hard drive that could be plugged into an existing server network. All of a sudden, individuals could access many of the incredible resources on the Web quickly, easily, and cheaply, without consuming expensive bandwidth. Can you imagine how empowering that would be?

'The Internet in a Box.' That's the idea behind the University of Iowa eGranary Digital Library project, which is making web sites, books, journals, and educational software available to universities, schools, clinics, and libraries in the developing world. This is a pretty nifty idea (and I'm not just saying this because I'm a U. Iowa alum). I encourage you to check out the eGranary fact sheet, content catalog, list of subscribers, and other materials.

I wonder how this could intersect with the One Laptop per Child initiative. Also, wouldn't it be a great school project to raise money to buy these for some institutions in other countries?