In 2011, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed that South African learners have the lowest performance among all 21 middle-income countries that participated. South Africa’s development as a knowledge economy depends partly on improving the teaching of mathematics and numeracy. Furthermore, South Africa’s extremely high youth unemployment, which is currently at 50%, is closely linked to the quality of schooling; numeracy and mathematics competency in particular. We have looked at the education Stats for 2013 and 2014 as shown on department of education website, and the results show that we still have a long way to go in terms of improving the situation for the future of this country.
Nubian Smarts believes that building a solid math foundation is vital for children to succeed. Hence our interest in creating applications for primary school children. Studies have shown that students with weak basic math skills find the subject increasingly difficult and confusing thus leading them to get poor results. This often leads to math anxiety and the belief that mathematics is hard and not fun, which is how most people feel when asked about their experiences with regards to maths.
So in essence when a child develops a solid math foundation, you notice that the stress caused by poor math skills disappears, and you might notice the child even saying that maths is fun. We at Nubian Smarts believe that this is not an unattainable goal and that the key to improving these statistics is by creating mobile applications that focus on creating a lifelong love of mathematics. These mobile applications are not intended to be a unique educational method but rather to complement the other areas of the educational programme.
Studies conducted have reported that mobile apps are not only engaging, but educational, for children as young as preschool. PBS Kids, in partnership with the US Department of Education, found that the vocabulary of kids’ age’s three to seven who played its Martha Speaks mobile app improved up to 31%. Abilene Christian University conducted research around the same time that found math students who used the iOS app “Statistics 1” saw improvement in their final grades. They were also more motivated to finish lessons on mobile devices than through traditional textbooks and workbooks.
More recently, two studies that separately followed fifth and eighth graders who used tablets for learning in class and at home found that learning experiences improved across the board. 35% of the 8th graders said that they were more interested in their teachers’ lessons or activities when they used their tablet, and the students exceeded teachers’ academic expectations when using the devices.