Twenty-three schools across Lagos will benefit from the project, which aims to use innovation and technology to improve educational outcomes across the region and is funded by the Department for International Development’s education fund. @TommyMinor and @james_tooley will be training schools in best practices with DoodleMaths and overcoming hurdles not normally encountered by UK schools, such as lack of electricity and children who have never used a ruler.
Over the past few days, Tom has visited some of the poorest slums in Lagos, including Makoko where families live in a community built on stilts over the lagoon. Monday the 8th of January was regarded as the ‘darkest day of the year’ for all back to work in the UK. This same Monday was perhaps one of the most exciting days for the local people in Makoko’s careers.
Following a meeting with the Department for International Development, Tom and James headed to a local school to begin their training. Speaking of the experience so far, Tom has been struck by how the ‘teachers are so enthusiastic and have the drive to overcome barriers, however big or small, and always strive to quickly find solutions. The teachers view everything as surmountable.’
Whilst in Makoko, Tom has met some truly inspirational teachers and leaders demonstrating their passion for education in the classroom. With the simplest of resources, teachers strive to provide the young people with better opportunities.
Growth mindset could have been invented here – wall displays show that their values promote independence, resilience and determination.
“Change your words & mind”
“MISTAKES help me LEARN”
“I can always improve”
With the expected challenges of power and connectivity sorted, Tom was a little surprised to find that many of the children didn’t know their birth dates, key data which helps set the initial DoodleMaths programme.
The children were also unfamiliar with the keypad and a little intimidated by their UK visitors. After overcoming these minor barriers, pupils were quickly engaging with the programme. Another observation was that the children have a much better understanding of arithmetic over shape and space for example. Without resources such as protractors and rulers it is virtually impossible to teach these skills.
All systems are go – training is underway! Tom and Professor Tooley are now in Ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos training the teachers. Although there is a lack of resources and the equipment is poor quality, the teachers are thrilled to have been donated laptops at a ratio of 10 teachers per one laptop as it gives them access to DoodleMaths’ Teacher Dashboard.
Our web-based dashboards allow teachers to monitor and manage children’s ability and progress. DoodleMaths’ robust infrastructure has meant that in places where electricity and wifi connectivity is a rarity for the local people, children can for the first time use technology to access a personalised maths work programme.
Here is a little hut across the road from the school where two ladies wait with food for the children. Children bring 25c and their own dishes to school where they can then go and get a ladle of food to eat at lunch if they haven’t brought their own.
Everyone is now trained and ready to use DoodleMaths in the 23 schools next week. It’s gone really well – no glitches and the app has performed brilliantly! The children and teachers alike are incredibly excited as Tom, Professor Tooley and we are.
DoodleMaths could have a huge impact on children’s education in this region. Watch out for more news next week!
We wish Tom and Professor Tooley a safe flight back home.
This project was funded with UK aid from the UK government .