A major development for Axium in 2018 is our partnership with Siyavula. This online learning platform offers open textbooks and practice exercises generated through adaptive technology that keeps learners practising at a level best-suited to building their ability. It also offers you a low-cost opportunity to support our work by donating unused phones. Read on to find out more:
In just six months, our senior school students have completed over 30 thousand math and science exercises on Siyavula. Teachers at local schools are coming on board to register for the programme, expanding access to their full classrooms. For those able to use it regularly, the impact is significant – as confirmed by an anonymous survey we had completed by 87 of our 120 Ekukhuleni students. Let the students speak to this for themselves, with answers to the question: What do you enjoy about Siyavula?
‘’I practise the things that I am doing in school that I don't understand fully. It helps my mind to understand the whole subject.’’
“What I enjoy the most is that when I made a mistake Siyavula shows me how to do it and the more I get answers right the harder the questions become.”
‘’I enjoy practising because I teach myself by that. It helps me to know my mistakes.’’
Siyavula aims to make excellent math and science teaching affordable for all, with the above benefits (read more here). It aims to be as accessible as possible: it is free for schools in our quintile, zero-data-rated on major cell networks, and can be used on a standard feature phone (any device with internet access – it need not be a smartphone).
However, rural learners still face a number of access challenges due to geography and circumstances. Network coverage does not reach all areas and some homes do not have electricity for charging devices. These are perhaps challenges we can’t overcome immediately. But one thing we can influence is that 33 of the 87 learners we surveyed do not have access to a personal phone they can practise on regularly. Of that number, 25 report that no one at their home has a phone they can borrow to use. This limits them to only practising on tablets during our sessions. As expressed in the survey:
‘’I don't have a cellphone that is mine. When I want to access to siyavula I have to ask and beg my sister to lend me her phone’’
‘’I want to join Siyavula practice but I have no cellphone computer tablet I want to learn evening, but I have no lights to light.’’
‘’There are few chances of practising on Siyavula because sometimes my mother refuses to borrow me the cellphone. I really want to practise daily or weekly to do better.’’
We can greatly increase the number of practice exercises being completed if learners can practise at home as well as during our classes. This is where you can support! Many of us living in wealthier homes in urban settings have cellphone contracts that offer regular upgrades. Some families now have 2 or 3 spare older phones sitting unused in the home.
We ask you please to consider donating these phones so more of our students can access a fantastic learning tool. If you or anyone you know have devices you can donate, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are willing to be a central collection point for people in your area, please be in touch with us too.
We have enough resources between us. Let’s band together to redirect them to spaces where they are really needed!