Masamu tablet intervention in Malawi

Bright future for education in developing nations

The future for education in developing nations will be illuminated with digital technologies, a study has found.

At Biwi Primary School in Lilongwe, Malawi, the youngest students have soaring ambitions. But they are thrust into a dreary learning environment: one punctuated by stretched classrooms, scarce resources and inconsistent teaching quality.

So The University of Nottingham’s Dr Nicola Pitchford proposed a simple solution: tablets.

Her 2014 study, involving over four hundred early-primary students at Biwi Primary School has revealed the significant gains mobile technologies can present for the educational landscape in developing nations.

Across just eight weeks, the study found students using the tablet saw significantly improved mathematical attainment, with some tripling their maths curriculum knowledge. The tablet was more effective in accelerating learning than existing teaching practices.

Notably, the tablet was even effective in raising the performance of low achievers: 78% of low achievers improved their mathematical ability to an average range after using the tablet, compared to only 17% of children who were receiving standard classroom instruction.  

The study is powerful affirmation for pioneers of mobile-based education.

Digital technologies hold largely untapped potential for both teachers and students, and the World Literacy Foundation is mobilizing this for classrooms around the world. Find out more here: https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/stories/solar-tablets/

By Whitney Chen