A survey by four researchers from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) on Smart Learning for Primary Schools in Kenya has established that, smart learning removed the over dependency of physical presence of teachers by making learning more fun, enjoyable as well as keep pupils busy in the houses away from the Covid -19 pandemic. The videos are now open for public access and are free to use.
The survey by Muliaro Wafula, Agnes Mindila, Teresia Kariuki and Duncan Adongo, largely involved the exploration of innovative ways of using light video they created using ThinkBoard Office Software and was carried out in 2017 and 2018. The study further discovered that smart learning helped change the negative attitude towards mathematics by motivating learners to study independently.
The survey which was funded by JKUAT and JICA’s Africa- ai -JAPAN project, entitled Smart Learning for Primary Schools in Kenya: Content Delivery Innovation Prototype Learner Experience, further observed that the digital content prepared by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development for schools was largely static and required to be transformed into multimedia format that is dynamic and interactive so as to catch and maintain the attention of the learners
This prompted the researchers to innovate the appropriate interactive digital multimedia content in light videos for the primary schools in Kenya. The innovative mechanism of creating such digital content for primary schools has now been established and needs further testing, evaluation and documentation so that it informs upscaling to the wider learning community.
According to the researchers led by Prof. Muliaro, the director of JKUAT’s ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD), the positive results obtained clearly indicated support for improvement of learners by an average of 45 per cent. It further revealed that the concentration span generally improved for most pupils.
The study involved class eight mathematics pupils of JKUAT Primary School in Kiambu County representing urban set up, and Chesamisi Primary School of Bungoma County that represented the rural set up.
Some of the feedback from the students engaged during the study was an affirmation that smart learning improves one’s understanding of mathematics because it explained in an effective way that pupil can understand without any difficulties, it efficiently and effectively conveys new knowledge to learners, as well as helped understand better due to unlimited repetition than when they are taught by a regular teacher.
The findings further revealed that, there was a possibility to rewind what one did not understand, and listen to it many times as necessary because smart learning was like a teacher who taught and if one did not understand, it could be repeated. Smart learning made learning maths fun and very enjoyable, has the best examples and methods, could make one know any formula one wanted, did not require a pupil to wait for the teacher, and that any pupil could use it anywhere and anytime if one did not understand any topic, among other reasons they provided.
On why those that were weak were able to improve in Mathematics, the pupils stated that what they learnt was able to be retained in their minds because the same was repeated many times, that there were some topics that had not been understood from face to face classroom lessons with teachers, and that the teachers in the videos gave explanations using clearer and simpler English that made it easy to understand.
As a result, the pupils achieved higher scores in mathematics than before, as well as that the method taught and offered them extra explanations.
The mathematics videos are now open for public access and use, especially during this coronavirus pandemic period when schools are closed. They can be accessed through JKUAT Smart Learning platform via link https://www.jkuat.ac.ke/directorates/iceod/smart-learning-platform/