News clipping – – 23 November 2010

Free maths e-learning with Nokia

Nokia has developed a mathematics learning tool for schools and has rolled it out on social network Mxit.
“It’s the most interesting project I’ve been involved in,” Nokia mobile learning solutions manager Rita Vanska told News24.

The programme allows Grade 10 learners to access maths tuition via the Mxit social network at no cost and teachers are also able to communicate with learners.

The system provides instant feedback as learners do practice sessions and tests that were developed by Maskew Miller Longman (MML).

Nokia was requested to provide “proof of concept” by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“We partnered with Cell C and MTN so it’s free to the learners. Over 75% of children have their own phone and several have access to a phone so the question was: ‘How do we engage children – they’re on their own when they’re studying?” said Vanska.

The programme boasts almost 10 000 exercises for Grade 10 mathematics and generates exercises at random so that it is unlikely that two learners studying together will get the same work.
“There are three different levels in the curriculum,” Vanska said.

This means that learners can adapt the study programme to the level that they are comfortable with and content developers MML said that the worksheets conform to the range prescribed in the South African curriculum.
“The content is written to match the curriculum requirements,” MML senior publisher Claire Robinson told News24.

Even so, one of the highest scoring learners on the programme said, “It’s easy” when asked about the standard of the questions in the worksheets.

Phase 1 of the program was rolled out to six schools in 2008 and that was expanded to 30 schools over three provinces in 2009. Nokia says that independent researchers tasked with assessing the program found a 14% increase in maths competency as a result of the programme

The programme is only available in English for South Africans and was launched in September. There are plans to expand the programme to more grades, eventually encompassing grades 8 to 12.

By Duncan Alfreds