A mobile learning centre, called DORA, was launched in Christchurch yesterday by Cr Glenn Livingstone. DORA is a 26-year old school bus from Central Otago that has been converted into a high tech digital learning centre for the 2020 Communications Trust’s Stepping UP training programme.
Up to 15 people can go on board at any one time for computer and internet training. DORA comes equipped with 15 laptops and satellite and 3G internet connections. The roof is packed with solar panels to supply power for the bus and when the sun isn’t shining, there is a petrol-driven generator to keep everything working. DORA also becomes a mobile wifi hotspot when her 12-metre mast is extended.
“What we have here is a completely self-contained digital classroom that we can take around the streets of Christchurch to provide computer and internet training for local communities,” said Sue Davidson, project manager for DORA.
“We have been providing training in schools and community centres for some years, but this became much more difficult after the 2011 earthquakes,” said Sue. “It has not just been a problem with the lack of facilities, but also the disruption to public transport has made it more difficult for people to get to training centres. DORA is the perfect solution – if people can’t get to training sessions, we are now able to take the training to them and park up in their street.”
The project kick-started with a large funding grant from InternetNZ as part of their support for post-earthquake Christchurch. Vikram Kumar, Chief Executive of InternetNZ, said that DORA was an excellent project and was a good fit with their objectives to promote internet access for all communities. The project has also received support from Microsoft, Meridian Energy and Farmside.
The 2020 Communications Trust is a not-for-profit nationwide trust, established 16 years ago to enable New Zealanders to participate in a digital world.
Sue Davidson 027 699 6342 or Laurence Zwimpfer 027 430 6737