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Maths, science app upskills Magaliesburg school pupils

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Magaliesburg State School has seen a 43% increase in physical science marks since the introduction of the MathU app.
Magaliesburg State School has seen a 43% increase in physical science marks since the introduction of the MathU app.

Vehicle tracking company Tracker, in partnership with online tutoring system MathU Teaching Emporium, has created a mobile app aimed at improving maths and science literacy for pupils of the Magaliesburg State School.

The newly introduced MathU app, which forms part of Tracker's corporate social investment initiatives, provides in-depth interactive explanations in video format, of mathematics and science equations, and provides learners with access to a range of exams and tests.

The launch follows the success of a pilot project run at the Magaliesburg State School in 2017, which the company says had a profound positive impact on the level of education, in a severely under-resourced school that serves a poor community.

The result was a 12% increase in maths ratings and a 43% increase in physical science proficiency, plus recognition as the best-performing school in mathematics and science in Gauteng for rural areas.

Dumisani Kala, head of learning and development at Tracker SA, explains: "It is our care for the communities within which we operate that led us on this journey and we are pleased to be part of a programme where learning and growing is only a button away.

"The app offers reward-based learning, encouraging students to spend an average of three hours practising maths and science. Therefore, this initiative promises to bridge the gap in maths and science competency and increase uptake of these subjects."

As part of the launch, 50 Grade 10, 11 and 12 Magaliesburg State School students who are studying maths and science received a package that enables them to access the app which is pre-built onto the phone. The package consists of an Android cellular phone with a SIM card and active data line, and a 10 000mah solar charger.

Based on their performance while using the app, students are rewarded with data or prizes such as bags, earphones and accessories. In the long term, students can use the MathU platform as a tool to gain access to bursaries, adds Tracker.

Will Burger, director at MathU Teaching Emporium, explains: "The MathU app provides in-depth video explanations of the specific problem the pupil may be struggling with. The interactive videos are developed by engineers that take time to cover all of the bases required for the learner to fully comprehend the problem at hand.

"Furthermore, the app then assesses the learner by providing them with assistance on the type of problem they are trying to solve, so if you are struggling with quadratic equations, for example, the MathU app will assist by showing you solutions to similar types of quadratic equations and by providing you with video solutions to a specific problem."

The app will be available on the Android and Apple stores later this year, for other schools to access.

This month, the Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre launched an updated version of a similar learning app, TouchTutor Quiz, which provides free access to maths and science learning materials and assessments to learners on their own mobile devices.

Earlier this year, 25-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal computer science student, Lloyd Gordon, introduced his mathematics Web-based app, Open Omnia, aimed at assisting students who struggle with mathematics to better understand the subject.

Other similar apps available in the local market include Math Expert, Toca Lab, Khan Academy and the WhizApp.

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