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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Gilmour, John [1], Thorhaug, Anitra [2], Meehan, Christopher [3].

Teaching Mathematics and Science in developing countries secondary schools during COVID-19 using USA Tech partners.

In 2019 94 million Sub-Saharan African children had dropped out of school. This is a major crisis worsened by the COVID-19 lockdown and school-closures during 2020/2021. Reacting quickly, the six LEAP Schools across South Africa, committed to test using cost-effective cell phones as the basic tool for online teaching and learning adapting to lockdowns. LEAP Schools, secondary STEM-focused schools, exclusively serve children from learning-impoverished lowest-economic quintile communities. LEAP, with innovative blended social-emotional and cognitive pedagogy, adapted quickly with support from USA digital-learning partners Team4Tech, to train teachers in effective use of cell phones for online learning during lockdown, quarantining, and rotational schooling that followed. The following are goals of the adaptive strategy: 1.) Formalise mobile-learning to maximise distance learning opportunities; 2.) Train teacher digital-leaders in creating staff training/onboarding materials to ensure long-term digital sustainability; 3.) Boost creative use of technology-based instructional and learning-support tools; 4.) Focus on developing creative 'maker mindset' using cell-phones and easily accessible materials; 5.) Integrate coding into the curriculum using cell phones to initiate and develop a coding program. To ensure success, LEAP facilitated and coordinated a training programme of teachers for teacher digital skills development. This process was well supported by international technology partner volunteers from Cadence Design Systems, and managed by Team4Tech. Goals were set to shift the teaching and learning paradigm as follows: instructional teacher-centered transmission-based practices, shifting to child-centered facilitation of learning; whole-class-learning focus, shifting to individual learning pathways; teachers as transmitters of information, shifting to teachers as learning-facilitators; fear of new technologies shifting through training; the obstacle of limited access to school-based digital devices, shifting by ensuring that ensuring that every child has a cell phone providing access to supportive academic and social-emotional learning constructs. Cell phone use across the LEAP schools contributed towards a zero LEAP drop-out rate versus a 10% drop-out rate in public schools. The 2020 year-end LEAP results were not statistically different from year-end 2018-2019 results for all grades including mathematics and science. Detailed data on software platforms such as IXL, reflected extensive use of cell phones by learners to gain mathematics proficiency and mastery. It is clear that cell phone use works well to facilitate planned distance learning. This LEAP model of cell phone use during a time of school closure due to crisis can be used to advance education moving beyond the crisis and in multiple contexts in which disaster interferes in schooling.

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Related Links:

1 - Leap Schools of Science and MAthematics, Capetown, wc, 7760, South Africa
2 - Greater Caribbean Energy and ENvironment Foundation, 1359 Southwest 22nd Terrace, 1, FL, 33145, usa
3 - Team4Tech, 2361 Sapphire Valley Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27604, USA

LEAP STEM learning South Africa
Distance learning by cellphone
Covid-19 cellphone use of tech platforms
tech platforms enhance cellphone distance
Cellphone STem learning disasters.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ED1, Education & Outreach I: Botany for Diverse Audiences & Under-Resourced Communities
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 12:45 PM(EDT)
Number: ED1002
Abstract ID:88
Candidate for Awards:None

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