By: Krystle Crossman
Technology is a very important tool in education. There are many different educational resources that technology brings that can be used to help students visualize what they are learning and help them to find out more information than they would be able to find from a book. There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet, in apps, and even on television if you know where to look. Black children in Malawi are learning about technology and how amazing it is for them in the classroom.
In Malawi classrooms can often be overrun with students but still only have one teacher. The number of students can reach upwards of 90-100 per classroom with only one teacher. This reduces any one-on-one time that a student will get and may reduce their chance to get help if they need it on an assignment. This is where the nonprofit company Onebillion is stepping in. They have created an app that is personalized for students to help them learn math, language, and problem-solving skills. Currently this app is being tested in public school classrooms in Malawi and already they have seen a marked improvement in what the students are learning.
Every day the children are given half an hour to play on a tablet with the app. They have a printer as well that allows them to print out an educational milestone certificate that the app hands out after making strides. The games on the apps are colorful and very kid-friendly so that they are engaged but still learning. Preliminary scores have shown that the children have learned the same amount of math in just six weeks that should have taken them at least a year to learn.
The country of Malawi is mainly made up of families that have to learn to survive on just $1 per day, sometimes less. This combined with the low budgets for the schools can be a huge barrier when it comes to a child’s education. The app is made to help them increase the likelihood that they will meet the educational goals set out by the United Nations and also help them to stay in school. Children as young as three years old can use the app and get started at an earlier age. This is another advantage of the app, they don’t have to wait until they are actually in school to begin learning.
Now that they have seen the success of the app with these students the UK has researchers setting out to do something similar and testing it out on children in the UK.