Pretoria – Pupils are now able to use their cellphones to access high-quality maths and science teaching, thanks to the latest innovation by Paper Video.
Paper Video is a social enterprise that uses technology to make it possible for every pupil in South Africa, irrespective of their circumstances, to gain access to an experienced, qualified teacher in maths and science.
For the first time, the innovation will allow pupils in Grades 8 and 9 a chance to turn their cellphones into an experience and engage a teacher for every lesson they need in key subjects – without requiring any internet connection or incurring data costs.
“Pupils, regardless of where they live or what their personal circumstances are, will have access to a programme to improve their future,” said Mike McDougall, chief executive of the Actuarial Society of South Africa.
He said they had partnered with Paper Video to intervene in the dire state of maths and science education in the country, especially in under-resourced schools.
“Through the new Subject Maps, pupils can use their devices to access professional video lessons for every topic in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and accounting in the first two years of high school,” said McDougal.
He said Grades 8 and 9 were crucial foundation years, and they had found that many pupils, especially those in more rural and impoverished areas, did not receive a good enough grounding to continue with mathematics and physics.
Paul Maree, Paper Video co-founder and maths teacher, said: “There are a lot of tech-based learning resources in South Africa, but almost all of them exclude the vast majority of South African students because they cannot be used without an internet connection and data."
“We wanted to create a resource that does not exclude anyone due to their personal circumstances.”
A key feature of the resource was that all the videos represented on the map could be watched without internet connectivity or data, and all that pupils needed to do was to use their phone to scan a QR code next to the concept as it appeared on the map.
After scanning the QR code, a video lesson ranging from 30 minutes to two hours would pop up on their screen, taking the pupil through the entire concept, step by step.
However, that could only be done once the resources were purchased, either through sponsorships offered by the enterprise itself or privately by parents through the enterprise’s online store.
“Paper Video relies primarily on corporate sponsorship for resources, particularly for impoverished schools."
“Our partnership with Assa, a non-profit organisation, means that corporates can sponsor a roll-out while satisfying their CSI requirements,” said Maree.
The Paper Video team originally made waves with their series of past exam papers supported by engaging and accessible video solutions, which had been rolled out to schools across the country.
In the same vein of bettering the education system in the country, especially by seeking possible innovative teaching methods for maths and science, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said evidence showed that a play-based approach to learning allowed children to better understand mathematical and language concepts and to become more creative.