A South African mobile technology company has launched a maths and science audio and visual app aligned with the national curriculum that will help students improve results in this vitally important field.
Future Mobile Technology (the South African company that in 2011 brought South Africa its first ever affordable 3G embedded Android® Tablet) has developed a DRM protected content management programme for the Android operating system platform.
The netsurfer™SCHOLAR for the TouchTutor™ Maths & Science package, that works exclusively on FMT’s tablets, has been piloted with students in the Eastern Cape successfully testing it during the four-month test.
Developed in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Unit, the app comes pre-installed (no need to go online) on FMT’s current and new range of high quality, entry level affordable tablets, the netsurfer™ TOUCH, netsurfer™ LITE and the netsurfer™ DUAL that are currently in production.
“The TouchTutor™ is a flexible, technology driven resource centre for educators and learners. The package which is exclusively available on FMT’s tablets contains over 183 hours of supportive audio visual curriculum, such as videos and live experiments for maths and science students in grades 10, 11 and 12,” says FMT’s joint CEO, Graham Davies. “There are over 5 Gigabytes of South African Schools curriculum content pre-loaded onto the tablet. For any parent wanting their child to pass maths and science at school, this is an absolute Godsend!”
Davies says the video-based material and simple intuitive menu driven interface ensures that anyone even someone who has never worked with a computer or tablet before can use the programme.
“We wanted to create an innovative video model that uses a number of technology solutions to increase effectiveness in teaching maths and science,” Davies says. “The video material means you don’t have to be computer literate to work on the tablet. At the same time, topic lessons, explanations, discussions or even experiments are just a finger touch away.”
Joint CEO Tracy Andersson believes it’s essential to prepare more students for a tertiary education, something that is being inhibited by poor skills in maths and science. Originally approached to simply add a series of pre-prepared educational video material to FMT’s e-reader, the WYZEMAN, Andersson and Davies realised there was on opportunity take the idea many steps further, and use their expertise to create a curriculum-compliant programme that would truly enhance education.
Students in the Eastern Cape have already successfully tested the programme and content during a four-month pilot study conducted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Unit and it is currently being rolled out in the first phase of a national programme to selected recipients throughout the country.
“As a proudly South African company, determined to help bridge the digital divide and develop much-needed maths and science skills in our country, we believe the netsurfer™ SCHOLAR shows the real benefits of mobile devices in enabling education and training. By incorporating the National School Curriculum syllabus in this user-friendly format, students and teachers will have the support they need to excel,” Andersson says.
All TouchTutor™ material is aligned with the National Curriculum Statement syllabus and Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements amendments will be incorporated according to Department of Basic Education requirements.
The TouchTutor™ package and netsurfer™ tablets are a 24/7 on-demand dedicated maths and science personal tutor that enables students to learn or revise whenever they need to in the comfort of their homes.
The World Economic Forum, in its recent Financial Development Report, placed South Africa at the bottom of its list – number 62 – for the quality of the country’s maths and science education. The WEF report, which analyses the financial system drivers that support economic growth, understandably places enormous importance on the subjects, being the foundation on which the system depends.
It’s going to take hard work and innovation to reverse the cycle and ways to enable students and teachers to expand their knowledge and skill set. This could be a start.
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