Education in South Africa is evolving to adapt with the growing popularity of social networking among youngsters, and the Department of Education is leading a pilot project that uses mobile social network MXit to deliver mathematics tutorials to Grade 10 learners.
The project, called "Imfundo Yethu Imfundo Yami" is a joint venture between the national Department of Education, Nokia South Africa and SAFIPA.
Grade 10 learners – 260 in total – from six selected schools in Gauteng, the North West and the Western Cape Provinces will take part in the pilot project. The project allows users to receive maths information – to problem solve, as well as to share thoughts and ideas to better their understanding of the math module for Grade 10.
Greg van Schalkwyk, principal of Western Cape school, The Cape Academy, is excited at the prospect of improved marks by using technology. "MXit is used by 99% of the learners at my school. Learners will receive 15 questions on the MXit channel, and we will be able to see how they tackle problems to find mathematical solutions."
Herman Heunis, CEO of MXit, comments: "MXit is used by 12-million individuals both locally and internationally and six million of them are learners. The partnership has therefore chosen MXit to hosting this initiative, as it's already very familiar to young people. A special channel on MXit has been created for this purpose and access to this channel is free for learners."
The project will carry the data delivery costs and, via this technology, government can eventually pay the learning channel costs.
"Nokia is very excited to be leading this mobile learning education pilot," says Riitta Vanska, senior manager: university relations and future learning at Nokia. "We believe that mobile technology can bridge the digital divide in Africa, especially in the area of education. By using a platform like MXit, we are able to provide free access to supplementary Maths materials for learners. The aim of this project is to find a scalable, sustainable and affordable solution to mobile learning."