A donation of tablets and data made it possible to accelerate learning and improve outcomes at schools in the Free State, where a lack of resources and Covid-related disruption negatively impacted learning in the past two years. Working with the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Responsibilities division the tablets donated by IoT.nxt has made a difference in two key subjects – natural sciences and mathematics – in various Free State schools.
“IoT.nxt has contributed to the development of young South Africans since the establishment of the company in late 2015. We are especially excited about how this project with UFS evolved as it is now in a different, actually more beneficial, format than what we originally planned. In a country with high unemployment, it is critical that we do whatever we can to guide learners to future success,” says Hayley Byleveldt, HR Consultant at IoT.nxt.
“The donated tablets, originally intended to be used by learners, are now utilised by teachers from different schools in three districts in the Free State. Teams from UFS present workshops at its campus about natural sciences and mathematics to the teachers, share electronic textbooks, work through virtual experiments using PhET simulations, present self-marking, interactive online quizzes and show training videos. By working with teachers as opposed to with learners directly, we can reach many more learners than the 101 the tablet donation was intended for,” Byleveldt says.
Dr Angela Stott, who is involved in learner and teacher interventions, and research, for the UFS Social Responsibilities division, says the workshops were extremely effective, showing a 14% improvement in average performance between pre and post the tests. “They received a very favourable rating score from the participants. The tablets were an integral component of this success. It would have been impossible to conduct this workshop series as effectively, and in the manner that we did, without the tablets.”
“In 2022, we will also add a new programme for learners, in addition to the teacher project which will continue in the same format as last year. 100 learners will be assigned a tablet for use on the UFS campus for two 4-hour and fifteen 2-hour sessions that they will be invited to attend. We are especially looking forward to this component of the project,” Stott says.
For the learner project, the tablets will make it possible for learners to:
- Access an online programme, with individualized online feedback provided, to guide them to produce a science fair project for the Expo for Young Scientists competition.
- Support their participation in the MathArt competition.
- Engage with the Tanks coding game to develop basic coding skills.
In addition to the tablets, IoT.nxt also donated data access via the network of IoT.nxt parent company Vodacom.