#SpotlightFridays: Trackosaurus

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Trackosaurus is a social enterprise that’s developing a game-based formative assessment tool that will help preschool teachers track the developmental progress of their students.

Founded in May 2018 by Luke Crowley, the aim is to enable teachers to identify which young children are struggling in certain areas of learning so that those teachers can give individual attention and help those children get back on track.

“Most of my career has been spent in research, working in the field of development economics to try and figure out which social policies work (and don’t work) in the fight against poverty,” explains Luke.

“Five years ago, I and a partner decided to try our hands at the intervention side of things. Specifically, we set out to design a high-touch, scalable preschool network. Given my research background, one of the parts of this model that I got to work on was the assessment component.

“However, as I began researching the various assessment options that were out there, I soon discovered that there weren’t that many good “formative” assessment tools – that’s to say, assessment tools that let a teacher respond to an individual child’s current needs. And there were even fewer formative assessment tools that were suitable for under-resourced schools. So, I decided to spin off Trackosaurus into a separate project.”

He adds that Trackosaurus has a clear vision to break down the following drastically over-simplified chain of events.

“Preschool teachers don’t like assessment tools because they’re typically expensive and a pain in the butt to implement, ” he explains.

“So some teachers aren’t well attuned to how each child in their class is progressing … so some children fall onto lower learning trajectories from which they struggle to recover.

“Our goal at Trackosaurus is to develop an assessment tool that’s low-cost, hassle-free, and reliable. If all goes according to plan, we hope we can help put a dent in the ‘education gap’ in countries like South Africa.

Since founding the social enterprise, Luke has experienced several highlights.

“On a personal level, I had no idea I lived in such a niche hub for animation and game development! I’m a research nerd at heart; my video game career peaked many, many moons ago. So, when I first launched Trackosaurus, I was super surprised to find so many super talented 3D artists and “game devs” right here on my doorstep.

“Degree programmes like the Animation School, SAE, and Friends of Design do a great job with the training – while local companies like Triggerfish and Free Lives help put little ol’ Cape Town on the international map.”

However, the journey has not been without its fair share of challenges. More recently, Trackosaurus, like many companies all over the world has been affected by COVID-19, the global pandemic that saw the closing of schools.

“COVID-19 is, predictably, a big challenge for us as we’re meant to be transitioning from our R&D phase to our large-scale school piloting phase in the middle of this year,” says Luke.

“Thankfully, our problems are quite small in the grand scheme of things.

“And thankfully, COVID-19 is one of those things where everyone is in the same boat so everyone is making a huge effort to be extra supportive and understanding when it comes to timelines, scheduling, etc.”

 

Are you interested in learning more about Trackosaurus or getting involved? You can drop Luke a line at info@trackosaurus.education

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