Online classroom will improve maths marks

04 June 2013 - 03:07
Computer. File photo.
Computer. File photo.

In an attempt to deal with South Africa's low marks in maths and science, the Actuarial Society of South Africa (Assa) has launched a free online maths and science resource for both students and teachers.

The site, sponsored by 140 actuaries, enables teachers and students to download learning material for science (Grades 6 to12) and maths (Grades 9 to 12)on their smartphones, PCs or laptops.

"Every single teenager sits on their phone nowadays. It is only a matter of getting through to them," said Gregory Whittaker, a sponsor and member of Assa.

"Our only vested interest is to improve maths and science and to encourage students to enjoy the subjects," he said.

In the 2012 Annual National Assessment for Grade 9, the average mark for maths was 13%.

In the 2012 matric results, 60.9% of science students and 64.3% of maths students obtained less than 40%.

The downloads present various videos, such as science experiments, and slide shows, that break the syllabus into sections.

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director at World Wide Worx, said that technology is able to deliver information in increasingly "entertaining ways".

Educational specialist at the Learning to the Max foundation, Judy McDougall, said: "For pupils, it is the world they live in.

"They lose interest easily as they are used to being stimulated with animated images. We rather enter into their world than ask them to enter into our world."

Helen Robertson, content coordinator at Mindset Learn, said the "fantastic" thing about the site is that it provides an invaluable resource to teachers who are otherwise ill-equipped.

"Not only does it help students but teachers as well."

While experts agree that the use of technology may be beneficial for learning, one of the biggest challenges is "technologically illiterate" teachers.

"Teachers are intimidated by technology across the board - from disadvantaged to private schools. The biggest drawback is that teachers are scared to show what they don't know.

Since the site's launch last month, 2500 students have already registered.

One pupil registered on the site said: "The worksheets and power point slides help me to understand the work more thoroughly and enable me to test my understanding of a topic far more quickly and easily."

You can find the app here.