Monday, January 25, 2010

The Karma Project: Code Less, Teach More

My last post listed some of the organizations that are putting some of their resources to work on Sugar with us. Though that list is complete to the best of my knowledge, there's another partner of Sugar Labs that is doing a great effort to work with others in improving educational opportunities around the world: OLE Nepal.

OLE Nepal is running a deployment of 4400 OLPC XOs and are working on content creation and teacher training along with laptop distribution and maintenance. They started by using Squeak Etoys as the platform for their materials, then switched to Flash because they couldn't find enough people with Squeak skills, and finally have launched the Karma project, which is based on HTML5 technologies.

They have released the 0.2 version and are now starting to port their existing content to Karma, some which you can see (and play!) here:

I think this project is extremely relevant for the reasons that Bryan Berry outlines in Karma: The Code Less, Teach More Software Framework:

I have written a number of articles in about the need for an activity framework built on openweb technologies (JavaScript, HTML). Here is the argument in three sentences. A large proportion of software developers are familiar with these technologies. This proportion is even larger in developing countries. The larger software industry is steadily embracing openweb technologies for web, mobile, and desktop development. Please note that Karma lessons can run both online and offline.

I don't know of any other effort that can compare to Karma in educational content authoring, so it strikes me as very bold and far-sighted that educational NGOs in developing countries are taking FOSS components and are assembling them to create frameworks that the Adobes and Microsofts of the world have failed to create. So kudos to OLE Nepal and all the volunteers involved!

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