Cellphone help for physics

2010-09-14 11:10


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Cape Town - Physical science learners who feel that they lost out on their education during the recent public service sector strike, can turn to their cellphones to help with revision.

"It will only cost them in terms of bandwidth - about seven cents for every 10 mark quiz," Quizmax's Judy McDougall told News24.

The company has offered its subscription service free for physical science learners in grade 12 and after registering on the website, they can revise the subject with instant feedback on what they answered incorrectly, along with the answer and reasoning.

"We've had technical development for the past 18 months and I'm the science teacher and developed the content for the site. Teachers can also register a class and ensure that each child gets the same subject set," said McDougall.

She insisted though, that the quizzes are of a high standard.


"It's set at a proper exam level - it's not some Mickey Mouse exercise. I used my experience as a science teacher and went through several past exam question papers."

The programme is accessible from internet-enabled cellphones or computers and provides additional "tools" for teachers to teach a subject with an often negative reputation.

"It won't replace the teacher, in fact, we think it's got to be a tool in the hands of the teacher. They can give an assignment as homework, and it comes back marked with information on how many times a learner attempted a particular answer."

The programme can be set to provide questions to ensure that learners don't copy from one another or work together on a particular section.

"Some kids work well in a group and the assignments can be structured for that," McDougall said.

She added though, that children would probably use the programme as an excuse to use their cellphones at school - prohibited by many schools as a distraction from learning.

But McDougall suggested that some schools have decided to embrace technology.

"It will always take management from a teacher, but there are innovative schools like Willowridge High School in Pretoria where they want to provide each child with a cellphone by 2013. It will be locked but they're quite proud of that."

Any subject

Currently there are 650 children and four schools registered on the programme and more have joined since spotting the website advertised on the Learning Channel on DSTV.

McDougall said that they are working on expanding the programme to include mathematics and, possibly to include the curriculum for grades 10 and 11.

"Physical science lends itself to this, but we can do just about any subject - it's just a matter of finance."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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