Mindspark in South African Public Schools

As the world recalibrated after COVID-19, one thing that has lingered after those long forgotten periods of isolation is commitment to the world of technology. Young and old appeared to simultaneously recognise that in order to cope with the constraints brought about by the pandemic they could still communicate with each other remotely. The impetus of the enforced change infiltrated into the way we work and has started to have positive consequences for education.

Late in 2021 JET partnered with Educational Initiatives (Ei) Pvt to implement Ei-Mindspark: a Maths programme for learners using a personalised learning software that allows them to effectively acquire an understanding of maths concepts and to advance at their own pace. The system captures the data from the online activities undertaken by the learners and is used to enhance their learning pathway.

In January 2022 a pilot, supported by the WCED, principals and teachers, began in six primary schools in the Metro South District of the Western Cape involving over 1200 learners. The focus on the first term of the intervention was on training the principals and teachers on the CAPS aligned Ei Mindspark programme and introducing the learners to a new way of learning maths.

The focus of the JET facilitators over the course of the year has been on supporting the teachers on how they can use the data generated from the software to monitor each individual learner’s progress. It has helped to inform the way the teachers tailor their lessons by identifying the specific areas in which each learner requires support when tackling any given maths topic.

Another interesting component of the software is how learners acquire “sparkies” which are awarded as they progress through the topics. This has helped to incentivise and motivate the learners as they work at their own level and pace on the same topic as their classmates.

Over the next two years of this proof of concept, the progress of the learners will be tracked so that JET and Educational Initiatives Pvt can evaluate the impact of this innovative online maths programme. The aim is to determine whether the programme can be implemented at scale across South Africa and have the same positive outcome as it has in other developing countries.

One positive consequence of Covid-19 has been the realisation that technology can be a force for good and the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers so many opportunities. JET and Educational Initiatives Pvt hope that the lessons learnt from the pilot will propel education in South Africa in an exciting direction and one which could narrow the inequality gap and provide the previously disadvantaged a chance to use online education programmes to showcase their talents.



Paul Flowerman based in the U.S
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Edutech Institute