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© Fall – Winter 2009

Making Strides

  SpotBeam & PWANI Sign Pact

Following meetings in Kenya and the US, SpotBeam and Pwani Foundation finally made their partnership official during a signing ceremony at Safari Restaurant in Washington, DC. In this partnership, Pwani Foundation, registered in Kenya, will offer financial and administrative management to oversee the implementation of SpotBeam's goal. SpotBeam also sought to extend membership of its recently launched Beamers Network to Wapwani Diaspora, a 501(c)(3) registered in Washington DC. The organization's goal is to engage Coast Province diaspora Kenyans in the development of their homeland. Together, we will work to establish a digital renaissance in the Kenyan classroom and inspire innovation and creativity in students.
Emmananuel Nzai,
Board of Directors, Pwani Foundation;
Kwangalia Mary Maneno,
Treasurer, Wapwani Diaspora;
Preston Hall,
SpotBeam Technical Director

Emmananuel Nzai, Pwani Foundation;
Kwangalia Mary Maneno, Wapwani Diaspora;
Preston Hall, SpotBeam

After the signing ceremony, SpotBeam's Technical Director made a pitch to a delegation of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that was in Washington, DC on official business. Mr. Hall laid out the goal of SpotBeam and the need for them to support the initiative. They expressed interest and asked that we continue communication with them. Among them were Hon. Bonny Khalwale of Ikolomani, Hon. Alex Muiru of Tharaka, and Hon. Martha Karua of Gichugu.


Recently, the SpotBeam technical director made a breakthrough, following months of research and troubleshooting to get through technical snags that threatened the realization of a video conferencing system using a proprietary server system. The open source solution had proved to be a premature challenge for the eLearning project for Kenya schools. What was needed was a system that would ensure there were no international server connections needed to reach the recipient. In-country connections would prevent waste of bandwidth and reduce latency, thus allowing for quality streaming to classroms.

The process of creating the SpotBeam eLearning model is a reminder that we are pushing towards a culture of innovation; a time in the near future when every student will have opportunity to nurture their talents, a time when the nation will be making breakthroughs in the technical field, in medicine, in the arts, and in the science of governance.

"To invent, you need a good imagination
and a pile of junk"

~ Thomas A Edison ~

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba: "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"
Facing famine, poverty, and dismissal from school did not deter him from feeding his mind with science books from the local library. Challenged in reading English, the illustrations fed his imagination and sparked his genius. No crisis of any magnitude should prevent the inspiration of genius in youth.

Breakthroughs will happen when we shift from churning failures annually to churning innovators, when looming national crisis like famine will stop being an excuse for feeding the minds of our youth, when political demagoguery will cease being the attention-grabber and innovative ideas take over the headlines.

Beamers Network is Launched  

We have recently launched the Beamers Network, with membership sign-up available on Facebook and and on the SpotBeam website.

Beamers is a network of dreamers and doers, with an interest in "paying our success forward" to inspire the genius in students in Kenya through the SpotBeam project and help stem the tide that grows a nation of "failures" annually.

We cannot let 66% of high school graduates continue joining the ranks of "failures" annually. We must determine to offer them tools that will instill a culture of innovation and creativity beyond standardized exams that do not test individual talent.

The Beamers Network will also help its members spark, rekindle or keep alive their own genius by interacting with other Beamers, and most important, give them opportunity to inspire a student and change a nation. Beamers is open to persons of all nationalities. Please follow this link for details on how to become a Beamer.
The Beamers Network

There is a genius in every man and woman, waiting to be brought forth

"There is a genius in every man and woman,
waiting to be brought forth"

~Wallace D. Wattles~
The Science of Being Great


The goal post never moves; it's the players that run around, getting exhausted, sometimes giving up, sometimes triumphant, but our goals stay intact, waiting to be reached. And so it is with SpotBeam's mission. Step-by-step, we have been making strides that move us closer to the major goal. We achieve our goals because we refuse to give up, become innovative when an old trick is no longer effective, and play smart when exhaustion sets in.

One of the biggest obstacles in continuing the technical work was the high price tag that came with the needed server software and its accompanying technical help-desk. Far beyond its reach, SpotBeam changed tactic and played smart through communication with software manufacturers, and eventually acquired what we needed to continue the work. Working through technical snags was nothing short of steel determination and a certain addiction to overcoming. Thanks to the technical director's relentless effort, we have now developed a model system that can broadcast live to remote schools. It awaits on-site testing and implementation.

How It Works

• A Note From The Technical Director •

The SpotBeam e-Learning network uses Internet video conferencing to broadcast live and pre-recorded presentations to schools. In the studio, teachers record and broadcast lessons from approved syllabi. A digital encoder receives video and audio inputs from the camera and microphone and converts them into data streams that can be delivered across the network and sends them to a streaming media server. The server sends the live video streams over the Internet to schools. Using wireless modems the school receives the video streams and plays them on the classroom computers with software media players which send the presentations to LCD projectors for the students. The server also has e-learning material that is available for the students to download on-demand. In the classrooms, cameras and microphones are setup so instructors can view and interact with students.

color bars

Test feed streaming from Baltimore computer lab

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