Tech solution for learners without data access

Ground-breaking innovation has been developed by video education pioneers Paper Video in partnership with the Actuarial Association of South Africa (ASSA) to remove the barriers to maths and science success for grades 8 and 9. 

“Grades 8 and 9 are crucial foundation years, and yet we are finding that many students, especially those in more rural and impoverished areas, do not receive the adequate grounding to continue with mathematics and physics,” Mike McDougall, CEO of ASSA, says in a press release announcing the Subject Maps. 

 Subject Maps will guide learners through a two-year journey, covering every concept in the grade 8 and 9 curricula for maths, physics, life sciences, natural sciences and accounting.

“It shows you where a subject is going but it can also show you where you need to go back to, if you don’t understand something. So it’s easy for a student to identify where the gaps in their content knowledge are,” says Paul Maree, Paper Video co-founder and mathematics teacher. 

With Subject Maps, a learner uses his phone to scan a QR code next to the concept as it appears on the map. A step-by-step video lesson ranging in length from 30 minutes to two hours appears on the phone and then takes the learner through the entire concept.  

Maree says a key feature of the resource is that all the videos represented on the map can be watched without internet connectivity or data. While there are a lot of tech-based learning resources in South Africa, they often exclude students who do not have an internet connection or data. With Subject Maps the learner inserts Paper Video’s microSD card that contains thousands of videos into any Android device or Windows computer.  

Paper Video became known for supplying series of past exam papers, supported by video solutions, to schools across the country. One of their success stories was that of Siphelele Xabendlini from Phandulwazi High School in Philippi who achieved 100% in physical science in the final matric exam last year. He became the first student from a township school to achieve the best grade for physical sciences in the Western Cape. Xabendlini specifically mentioned “his use of our resources to achieve that result,” Paper Video co-founder Chris Mills says in a press release. 

Maree adds that Paper Video works alongside its partner, ASSA, to get their resources to learners and schools that would otherwise not be able to afford them in a private capacity.

“We have so far rolled out to just over 15 000 students across the country, thanks to projects sponsored by some of the largest companies in South Africa, including Momentum, Metropolitan, Old Mutual, SAB, Swiss Re and Investec. Once we have a corporate sponsor on board, we then work with them and local representatives from the department of education to identify recipient schools and learners,” Maree adds.  

Individual learners can also visit Paper Video’s website where they can learn more about resources available to them and visit the online store if they would like to purchase Subject Maps. Learners can watch these videos on a smartphone, tablet or computer via Paper Video’s website or app (which is available for all Android devices and Windows computers). Learners who use the website or Windows app would simply type in the video code instead of scanning the QR code. 

The microSD cards can be purchased via the online store on Paper Video’s website, with cost ranging from R199 to R349 depending on the size of the microSD card required. 

This article originally appeared in the 6 April edition of finweek. Buy and download the magazine here.  

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