Sunday, September 26, 2021

Educational software in Africa

While looking up Ricks Institute info, I found that they're using an African-sourced software platform for e-learning. Ashcon turns out to be an extension of Wordpress and Buddypress which serves a customized set of free instructional videos, pre-downloaded. This is organized to match the school's (Ricks' here) curriculum. The history of installing their software at Ricks is interesting. Try to buy a server and find that unless you wait (too long!) you have to buy local at 2x the normal price. A large fraction of the downloaded demonstrations demand java or flash--problematic. Iowa State warned them that some of the simulations might have minor flaws, but they worked. Khan Academy has lots of material they could use.

All of this educational material is easy to find and use--if you have good internet connectivity. The value-added with Ashcon is pre-downloading the material to a local server and simplifying the access. It developed thus:

"Whilst in my first semester in Ashesi, I developed a simple website with educational videos from Khan Academy and hosted it on my laptop. This was in response to the many requests I received from fellow students to copy the videos for them onto their flash drives. These were videos teaching topics related to the introductory courses we were taking that semester. Students who had seen me watching Khan Academy videos wanted to use them to revise for the upcoming mid-semester exam. Over that weekend, my classmates downloaded about a thousand videos, which motivated me to develop the site further. This gave birth to AshCon."

A little good news in the world...

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