Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kusasa Cancelled

I just noticed that The Shuttleworth Foundation has canceled the Kusasa project:

Kusasa is a curriculum-aligned learning system that can:

  • be self taught, peer mentored, and evaluated without expert supervision;
  • provide learners with tools for analysis which they can use in all of their learning areas;
  • be an exercise machine for analytical and creative thinking.

Helen's explanation is a bit difficult to parse:

“It was apparent that the project success would depend on teachers developing skills we did not initially anticipate,” explains King. “Teachers would need to develop confidence in the Etoys modelling environment used by Kusasa in order to effectively manage classroom interaction. The original vision placed very low demands on the teachers and was to some extent intended to remedy individual teacher challenges.”

It sounds like (I haven't spoken to Mark or Helen about this) they couldn't route around needing a lot of teacher training.

Trying to avoid teacher training seems kind of perverse. The problem is that if step one (or two) of your plan is "successfully train a generation of teachers in a largish, mostly poor country to implement something sophisticated and unfamiliar," well, that's probably at least as hard as the problem your original plan is supposed to solve. Probably a lot harder. It is worth taking some strategic risks to try to break that bottleneck.

Anyhow, it is also worth noting that all the content (LAMS modules and eToys stuff) they completed is freely available and can be reused, remixed, recontextualized, etc.

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