Cape Town – Now that Via Afrika has launched a tool to solve the country’s shocking maths level, corporates and businesses are able to team up to sponsor special zones at schools to kick-start the learning revolution.
Via Afrika launched the internationally-acclaimed tablet tool Tabtor last week, which changes the way teachers and learners interact and speeds up maths skills for learners from grade R to 6.
READ: Via Afrika’s answer to SA’s poor maths results
Learners earn points that can be transferred into free airtime vouchers. Via Afrika is open to corporate sponsors coming on board with this or similar incentives.
Tabtor’s trial period showed ‘astounding results’
Micheal Goodman, the group content manager of Via Afrika, said the tool was trialled in three rural schools in 2014 to ensure the product was right for South Africa’s education system.
The results were impressive.
“We found that in grade 6 for example, learner results went up by 15-20% after a 10-week trial period, which is quite astounding,” he said.
“That made us quite confident that it would work,” he said. “We then embarked on making sure it matched the South African curriculum, which involved writing new material where necessary.”
“Now we have Via Afrika Tabtor Maths,” he said, adding that is the platform was based on Singapore Maths, which helped that country’s success rates in the maths literacy.
The below studio interview with Goodman has an extract of footage from students in rural areas using the platform.
Different from free tutorials
Goodman said that while free tutorial platforms like the Khan Academy were very useful, they didn’t deliver an overall learning platform sufficient for learners in classrooms.
“It’s doesn’t directly relate to the [South African] curriculum, whereas Tabtor is,” he said. “What we have here is the opportunity to practice various parts of the curriculum using the tablet.”
Goodman demonstrated the usability of the tablet to Fin24, which uses digital paper to allow learners to write on the tablet. Results are entered with real time feedback and learners can watch a video to explain the concept if stuck.
Teachers can view all answers or only the incorrect answers and record hand written and verbal explanations for the learners. The return time on teacher and learner correspondence is therefore speeded up and allows teachers to drastically improve the quality of their tutelage.
Overcoming expensive tablets
While anyone with a tablet will benefit immediately from Tabtor, schools where learners have no access to tablets will have an opportunity to benefit through government and corporate sponsorships.
Via Afrika sets up special secure containers with a classroom filled with fitted tablets that the whole school can use. Corporates who sponsor a container can get branding and add incentives into the point rewards system for the learners.
Watch the full interview:
Using a successful implementation of Tabtor in Jamaica, where schools with 180 pupils used nine tablets on a rotation period, Goodman said this concept would work well.
“Via Afrika Tabtor Maths needs 30 minutes, three times a week to be effective,” he said. “180 kids got to use those nine tablets with discipline and careful management.”