Welcome to the Learning Gains through Play project website
Learning through play is a well-known strategy that encourages self-driven learning and involves language-sensitive pedagogies. Ten schools in South Africa have been fortunate enough to receive banks of Intel tablets for learners and Xbox Kinects to explore these strategies further. The DG Murray Trust and SchoolNet SA had hoped to harness the potential of android apps and Kinect games to expand learner literacies in Grades 1 and R through focusing on play.
Already in Year 2 of the project we can report that teachers have been excited to discover that digital games have been able to assist them to achieve the outcomes listed in CAPS. Teachers use apps and games to identify teachable moments and stealth learning opportunities which trigger learners’ imaginations and target specific literacies. Teachers are rating the effectiveness of each game, and thus gradually compiling an anthology that will be of value to all Foundation Phase educators who integrate technology in their teaching.
Professional Development Courses
Over the 3 year project, teachers at the ten project schools will have completed a wide bouquet of professional development courses. The first course to be studied was the Change Leadership course for Senior Management Teams. The first course for all Grade 1 and Grade R teachers focused on effective strategies for using tablets in the classroom. The content for all the courses is available online from the ‘Our Courses” links above.
Research Findings in Year 2
In both years of the project, we have tested Grade R and Grade 1 learners and in 2016 Grade 2 learners will be added. There can obviously be variations in the skill levels of cohorts of learners from year to year because they are different children. Therefore the one cohort that will have been tested in each year of the project will be Grade R learners in 2014 who were in Grade 1 in 2015 and who will be tested when they become Grade 2 in 2016. Here is a data visualisation of the most significant findings:
To read more about the details of the evaluation studies click here.
For the schedule of events for the rest of 2016 please look at this link: 2016 Learning Gains for Play year plan
To see how we planned our 2015 year please click on Read More below.
What we do!
School Net South Africa has had the privilege to be funded over the last three years by the D.G. Murray Trust to study the benefits to learning through the use of play and innovative technologies for learners in grades R and 1 in ten schools in two provinces in South Africa; in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The D.G. Murray Trust has determined that the greatest impact can be made in the early primary years and that the focus of this project should be on play. Hence the selection of Kinect games and Android Apps.
Workshops are provided throughout the initiative, for Senior Management Teams in Change Leadership as well as in professional development for all Grade R and 1 teachers in all 10 schools. Face-to-face support in classrooms is included, as well as on-going online support.
Government officials responsible for learning in the district of their respective provinces are invited to all workshops.
Leadership workshops aim to alert management teams to the new possibilities afforded by innovative teaching and learning techniques, as well as giving an oversight of the project and being effective information sharing sessions.
The evaluation of the learning gains will follow a developmental approach where the project is tracked and documented and where the evaluators work closely with the project team to interpret and adapt as the project progresses.
The evaluation will therefore continually be influenced by implementation. Baseline data for literacies, as well as cognitive and motor coordination will be compared with data for successive years subsequent to the use of innovative technologies across the curriculum.
Latest Training Sessions
During afternoons, weekends and school holidays during 2016, teachers and senior management teams from the 10 project schools in KZN and Western Cape have been attending professional development workshops… Read more…
The Badging Reward Concept
Not only does the Learning Gains project use play-based strategies as a vehicle for learning, but also another key factor in the design of this project is an element of gamification built into the professional development strategies in the form of badging. The badging… Read more…
For the latest reports on the Learning Gains through Play programme – training sessions, research as well as school visits, please visit this website’s News page here and also the SchoolNet Reports page here .