Learners from 10 under-resourced schools in Nelson Mandela Bay are celebrating improved results in maths and science, thanks to a technology-linked maths and science support programme, run by the Telkom Foundation in partnership with Nelson Mandela University.
The top-performing school in this year’s Integrated Maths and Science Development Programme was Khwezi Lomso Comprehensive School, while the top learners were St Thomas High Grade 12 twin learners Courtney and Chloe Koeberg (they attained 87% and 83%, respectively), and Cillie High Grade 11 learner Valerie van Vuuren (83%).
Their results in the curriculum-aligned programme were well above the national average for maths and science in this country, which in 2016 were 51.1% and 62%, respectively.
The three-year R3m project, which started in 2016, is sponsored by the Telkom Foundation – Telkom’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) arm – and run in partnership with Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC).
The 10 particpating schools include Cillie, Douglas Mbopa, Gelvandale, Khwezi Lomso, Ndyebo, Ndzondelelo, St Thomas and Woolhope in Port Elizabeth, and Solomon Mahlangu and Uitenhage High in Uitenhage.
“The Telkom Foundation is focussed on basic education to enable the youth to participate in the economy through the ICT sector,” said Nathi Kunene, the Telkom Foundation’s Senior Manager: Corporate Social Investment.
“Through partnerships such as this one, which help to adequately prepare learners in maths and science to access careers in ICT, the Foundation is able to deliver on its mandate.”
The innovative project has three legs, including Tablet-assisted After-school Peer Support (TAPS) run at all 10 schools for 110 selected Grade 11 and 12 learners; an Incubator School Programme (ISP) run on Saturdays for 64 Grade 11 and 12 learners from the Telkom Foundation schools and additional learners from 20 other schools in the Bay (sponsored by Telkom and Capitec); as well as laptop-based skills training via a Professional Learning Network (PLN) programme for 20 teachers at the 10 schools.
Each of the 10 schools have also received a resource centre, with sponsored desktop computers.
At the project’s core is GMMDC’s pioneering technology-linked teaching and learning model, which is available on tablet and desktop computers for the TAPS and ISP learners, and laptops for teachers. The curriculum-aligned maths and science support package is called the Integrated TouchTutorR Support Programme (ITSP).
It was developed by GMMDC head Prof Werner Olivier, who chose a high-tech approach to get learners and teachers excited about maths and science, and to overcome some of the challenges facing many South African classrooms.
“Our aim is to nurture learners who show potential, and enable them to access higher education – and succeed at their studies. At the same time, we are helping teachers to deliver the mathematics and science curricula more effectively,” said Olivier.
TouchTutorR includes video lessons, animated PowerPoint presentations, digital interactive mathematics software such as GeoGebra, self-assessment and feedback, interactive language support (in six indigenous languages), past matric papers with memorandums and more – to give academically-talented learners a chance to improve their results, in schools where there are many challenges, among them a lack of resources, large numbers of learners in the classroom, a lack of staff capacity or teachers themselves who struggle with core areas of the curriculum.
At the same awards ceremony this month (October 20), GMMDC recognised the Bay’s top learners in the TouchTutorR Quiz Maths Competition, an android-app-based competition open to Grade 9 to 11 learners across the Bay. The app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store, was developed by GMMDC in partnership with Port Elizabeth IT company Avo Choc. The winners were: Adrian Grove and Chadleigh Ownhouse (tie first, Grade 11), Keanan Johns, Morgan Moss and Ryan Putzier (tie first, Grade 10), Tarryn van Wyngaardt (first, Grade 9) and Rene van der Berg (second, Grade 9). They are all from Alexander Road High, except for Grove and Van der Berg, who attend Pearson High.
In addition to the competition, the app makes available a large database of maths problems from grade 8 to 12 which learners and teachers can use for testing and revision.
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