Grades 8 and 9 in South Africa can turn their cell-phone into an experienced and engaging teacher for every lesson they will need in key subjects – without internet connectivity or incurring data costs.
This innovation, known as “Subject Maps”, came about through video education company Paper Video’s partnership with the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA), and is their collective response to the dire state of Maths and Science education in the country, especially in under-resourced schools. By using the new Subject Maps, students can use their own devices to access professional video lessons for every topic in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Accounting in the first two years of high school.
“Grades 8 and 9 are crucial foundation years, and yet we are finding that many students, especially those in more rural and impoverished areas, do not receive the adequate grounding to continue with mathematics and physics,” says Mike McDougall, CEO of ASSA. “The Subject Maps offer a powerful and cost-effective solution to this challenge.”
Solving the problem one learner at a time
The team at Paper Video originally made waves with their series of past exam papers supported by engaging and accessible video solutions, which have been rolled out to schools across the country. They have called their latest innovation Subject Maps because they guide students through a two-year journey, covering every concept in the Grade 8 & 9 curricula for Maths, the Sciences and Accounting.
A key feature of the resource is that the all the videos represented on the map can be watched without internet connectivity or data, thanks to microSD cards which contain thousands of videos and can be inserted into any Android device or Windows computer. All a student needs to do is use their phone to scan a QR code next to the concept as it appears on the map, and a video lesson ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours pops up on their phone, taking the student through the entire concept, step-by-step.
“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,” explains Paul Maree, Paper Video cofounder and Mathematics teacher.
Building on past successes to address core challenges
In terms of rolling out their resources as a social enterprise, Paper Video rely primarily on corporate sponsorship of their resources, particularly for impoverished schools. Their partnership with ASSA, which is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) means that corporates can sponsor a roll-out whilst satisfying their CSI requirements.