The eLearning Project

 

Implementation

 

Summer'09

Fall–Winter'09

Beneficiaries

 

Spring–Summer'10

Fall–Winter'10

Who We Are

 

Spring–Summer'11

 

The Beamers Network

 

 

 

Who We Are

SpotBeam is a non-profit Balozi Productions-USA initiative. SpotBeam's mission is to initiate a digital renaissance in the classroom by building an e-Learning network using video-conferencing technology; and to provide connectivity to remote secondary schools which cannot be reached via existing technologies. The initiative's vision is to inspire students to find their genius by providing them with tools for innovation and creativity.

The Founding Company:
Balozi Productions, based in the United States, is a theatre production and satellite installation company built upon the blended talents and professional experiences of its founders; Arts and Technology. Since its beginning in 2001, the company has served marginalized audiences and individuals in the US.

The company's business has grown steadily through its annual productions, student involvement, and increased sales and dealership contracts in satellite installation. On Arts, the company has written, directed and produced at least a dozen plays with largely original works, trained actors and given them stage experience, gone into contract with University associations, and grown its technical department to include sound and lights production. Its productions have been primarily a voice for those in the fringes of society, tackling themes on homelessness, immigration, the youth, and others. On technology, the company has entered into satellite communications dealership and installation contracts with SkyWay-USA, Skycasters, and WildBlue. It has also grown its sales into Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Balozi also has a long history of live webcasting and maintains a growing archive of video streaming projects.

The above foundation stands as a mark of success build upon knowledge, leadership, and the relentless drive to make a difference where it counts. Balozi directors' continued interest in socially, economically and technologically marginalized communities inspired the SpotBeam initiative whose primary beneficiary is Kenya's youth. We believe that the project's success in one country can and should lead to the expansion of the primary beneficiary base across the continent.

SpotBeam seeks to impact the education system through contributing to:

  • Innovative learning through information technology to supplement existing methods of teaching
  • Broadcasting lessons in leadership, peace education, health, and other areas of social relevance
  • Building an online interactive network, the Beamers network, that will support and encourage student innovation and creativity

Partners:
Since its initiation, SpotBeam has collaborated with companies, organizations and individuals in the US, Europe and Kenya towards building a solid and sustainable system that will meet the goals above. Through a series of meetings and conferences, Newtec and Forsway in Europe have been our collaborators in exploring connectivity for remote schools that cannot be served through existing technologies in Kenya. The Peoples MEDIA Center and INO Solutions in the US have assisted with exploring the possibilities of a SpotBeam pilot in the US, and determining the structural direction of the initiative. SpotBeam has also built a network of local support in Kenya, from the District level where the pilot phase is set, to the national level. This network includes the District Education Office in Taita District, Head teachers of five pilot schools, and local SpotBeam agents in Taita, Meru and Nairobi.

Other proposed partners with whom the project has initiated talks include the CCK (Communication Commission of Kenya) and the ICT Board of Kenya. The Ministry of Education will be the project's key partner.

Pwani Foundation, an NGO based in Kenya, is SpotBeam's fiscal sponsor. The Foundation offers a non-profit umbrella that will be responsible for the project's financial management. Through its sister organization, the Coast People's Forum, Pwani Foundation's officials, highly experienced in the field of accounting, business and project management, come with a proven record of managing huge contributions for extensive projects in civic education. Their expertise will ensure financial accountability and transparency for SpotBeam.

Founding Directors:
SpotBeam's Technical Director, Preston Hall, has always had a penchance for tinkering with technology, and has achieved recognition for innovative contributions in his career. His areas of expertise and interest include satellite technology and exploring Internet-based communication solutions. As a satellite engineer, he has served in remote areas in Alaska and the Philippines while in the US Air Force, headed the Dow Jones IT department in Texas, and currently runs Balozi's satellite Internet business on the east coast of the United States. In the past two years, he has dedicated time to building the technology blueprint for SpotBeam. This has included an eLearning system using video-conferencing technology and an Internet connectivity solution for last-mile zone schools. Preston studied Aeronautical Engineering at Aero-Space Institute in Chicago and Electronic Technology at Cleveland Institute of Electronics and is certified in computer hardware, software, operating systems and networks.

SpotBeam's Administrative Director, Mkawasi Mcharo Hall, brings to the project extensive experience and interest in community development, cultivating leadership in youth, creativity and the activist spirit that seeks equal opportunity for those on the fringes of society. She is a playwright, director and Instructor in Performing Arts. She has previously worked as a Marketing Executive for a credit card company in Kenya; Leadership Instructor with the Leadership Program in NY; Instructor at John Robert Powers School in Rockville, MD and at Southeastern University; Coordinator of the Washington Peace Center in Washington, DC where she developed a peace education curriculum for high schools; and as an Insurance Agent with Bankers. Her public service engagements in the leadership of the Kenyan Community Abroad have provided her with vast experience in networking, lobbying, and project initiation and management. Mkawasi studied Performing Arts at University of Nairobi and Hunter College in New York.

SpotBeam is based in Washington D.C.
and Nairobi, Kenya

P.O. Box 213
Garrett Park, MD  20896
Tel: (202) 247-5660 / (202) 378-7950

P.O. Box 21729-00505
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254) 0727 170 037

director@spotbeam.org