This week every high school learner in Tanzania will begin learning maths for free from home in an exciting new way – thanks to MindZu, a Cape Town based edtech startup.
Through its partnership with the Tanzania Institute of Education, MindZu is broadcasting animated maths lessons on Azam TV’s education channel. The lessons are repurposed for television from one of MindZu’s gamified mobile learning apps.
MindZu co-founder Godfrey Parkin said “MindZu uses colourful animation, characters and stories in a virtual world setting. We exploit the power and intimacy of digital media to grab attention and gain engagement. Those who wish to can extend the TV learning process by doing interactive exercises and completing gamified maths challenges on the mobile app.” MindZu uses continuous cycles of learn-practice-play which make it easy to understand and memorise, and help develop a love of learning.
MindZu hopes to partner with other African education departments to bring quality maths and science learning to even the most disadvantaged learners. Parkin says “We go where the need is most clearly perceived and where we can have the fastest impact. Tanzania acted really quickly, going from first contact to first broadcast in under three weeks. They see cross-media mobile learning as a strategic direction, not a short term health crisis patch. Elsewhere, governance of education has a lot of moving parts and the machinery runs slower.”
During lockdowns, the quick-fix reaction of schools is to do Zoom based classes, but this is not ideal. The data demand is significant, most learners do not have access to tablets, and the learning environment is awkward. Zoom classes are just a form of remote teaching, and will never be as effective as either quality classroom teaching or well-designed e-learning.
The school sector has largely disparaged e-learning to date, except as an in-class teaching aid. Yet self-paced e-learning has dominated corporate training since the 1990s, since it is more effective than classroom training and more scalable, and participants prefer it. “Most secondary school e-learning has been pretty awful to date,” says Parkin. “Produced by textbook publishers, using videos of teachers, or textbooks on screen, the learner experience can be dull and uninspiring. But when it is professionally architected, and creatively produced, e-learning provides compelling, engaging, personalised learning experiences that go way beyond presenting the curriculum.”
Traditional education has been struggling to cope with the challenges of African economies for a long time. Now clever combinations of TV broadcast and mobile engagement can instantly scale quality education nationwide at very little cost.
Cape Town’s MindZu is on a mission to multiply the prosperity options of millions of teens in developing countries through affordable quality education in maths and science. They provide a full year of immersive, gamified, self-study education, via the learner’s own phone, for as little as R80 ($4) per year.
Contact: Godfrey Parkin CEO
+27 21 794 7838