Nokia and the Department of Science and Technology have launched Nokia Mobile Mathematics, a mobile phone service that helps learners from grades 10 to 12 better understand mathematics.
Any person with a data enabled mobile phone can now access more than 10 000 exercises of varying difficulties and collaborate with others, compare achievements and get guidance on how to progress. The service also gives teachers the ability to better understand learner’s competence and areas of improvement.
“We launched the Nokia Mobile Mathematics pilot in 2009 after a request by the then Deputy President of South Africa on how we could better use mobile technology to speed up learning,” says Gerard Brandjes, Vice President, Nokia South and East Africa.
“With more than five years of listening, learning and adapting the service, we are now ready to make it available broadly.”
The new service is fully browser-based and works on any phone, tablet or PC without needing to download an app. After a quick sign-up process, students can practice problems in a number of categories like finance, trigonometry, calculus and statistics.
While working on questions, learners can read background theory, see examples of solved problems and engage with others. Points are awarded for successfully completed exercises and, if a learner chooses to, they can share their points and compete with other students.
“Our Department has a portfolio on e-Education projects that supports solutions to improve the delivery of education in schools through ICT. These solutions also highlight the role of the Department in supporting other government departments to deliver services through science and technology,” says Jeanette Morwane, the DST director for ICT and Services Industry.
Most importantly, the DST has developed a roadmap for ICT Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) which aims to, among other things, increase public and private investment in this context. In addition, the Department has a dedicated programme to collaborate with multinational ICT companies that have operational presence in South Africa, such as Nokia.
In order to enable better uptake of the service, Nokia is partnering with South African mobile operators Cell C and MTN to zero rate the data for MoMaths, meaning students will be able to use the service on those networks for as long as possible without incurring a cost.
Nokia first launched MoMaths with a pilot for 260 grade 10 learners in Gauteng, the North West and the Western Cape provinces, who were encouraged to use their own handsets to access the collaborative learning service for mathematics via MXit.
To date, Nokia Mobile Mathematics has reached 150 schools with around 14 000 students actively using the service. Those students have completed more than four million exercises to date.
Of those registered learners, 53% became active MoMaths users, with 69% of teachers actively using the solution. Competence level of the users improved by 14% compared to learners who were not using the service and 82% of the usage happened outside school hours.
The Nokia Mobile Mathematics service is available at momaths.nokia.com.