Mobile phones to teach Maths

Johannesburg, 08 Apr 2008

Nokia, together with the Department of Education and non-profit organisation Mindset Network, has released M4Girls.

The pilot project uses Nokia 6300 mobile phones loaded with educational material to help improve the mathematics performance of Grade 10 girl learners.

Micheline Ntiru, head of Nokia's community involvement programmes in the Middle East and Africa, says the project demonstrates how mobile phones can enable social development and improve education.

"Young people are increasingly using their phones to gain knowledge via the Internet, social networking and interaction with their peers, so it makes sense to introduce learning through these devices."

Ntiru states that the scheme will be piloted in two schools in the North West Province, the President Mangope Technical High School and the Thlabane Technical College.

Pupils from these schools will be able to access educational games and other content that have been specifically created to meet the needs of the national curriculum, she adds.

The South African Department of Education is on a drive to improve proficiency in key subjects like maths among students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular girls, who tend to perform worse than their male counterparts in this subject, explains Ntiru.

The pilot supports this drive. In addition to the initial pilot using mathematics, Nokia and Mindset are developing digital content in other key subjects such as English and IT, she continues.

"Nokia is providing additional funding to help train teachers and school managers in the two pilot schools in the use of ICT resources. Nokia will also assist to repair classrooms and provide books for their libraries and Nokia staff are volunteering to act as part-time helpers at the schools."

Vis Naidoo, CEO of Mindset Network, says: "It is urgent that we improve SA's proficiency in maths. It is important for our youth to develop in this if they are to integrate into the fast-paced global economy. This pilot will help students achieve this."

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