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30 students from Limpopo village of Gija-Mhandzeni in South Africa have proven online learning platform can improve scores at school. This particular group of students has seen tremendous improvement in their Math scores.

Despite the fact the students were learning at a rural school, one that lacks the resources to connect them to the internet. The students nonetheless became tech-savvy learners thanks to a program by Bongani Mabaso, who initiated connected learning in rural school through the MTN Solution Space at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB).

Mabaso identified that many students were poor in Math and technology, so he began teaching a Saturday mathematics club for the Grade 8 and 9 via Facebook.

The initiative was actually part of my research into the development of 21st-century skills in rural learners. When you look at the literature and also speaking to the teachers and learners in rural schools, you quickly realize that many poor and rural schools are not equipping their learners with 21st-century skills,” explains Mabaso.

The Connected Learning Mathematics Club set up by Mabaso faced a lot of challenges, the biggest of which being lack of internet access and devices the students would use. Despite all that Mabaso says the results were “quite something to see.”

Prior to the rolling out of the Club, the school had a problem with students’ math assignments. They were either being submitted late or not submitted at all. Since the advent of the Club, things have change for the better; now assignment are being handed in on time, and the students seem to be advancing others skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and ICT literacy.

Membership to the club became a ‘cool’ thing in the school, and learners were excited by the prospect of participating in a learning format where they could revise mathematics concepts which might help them do better at the end of the year. The most exciting thing for me was to see learners, most of whom had not really bought into the whole mathematics thing, completely invigorated and excited about it.”

For more information about the transformative progress, the Connected Learning Mathematics Club is doing for rural students in South Africa, head on to IT News Africa.

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