A guest post about the MUVA Mexe project
This article originally appeared on Nereyda Ah-Hoy's Medium page.
The first phase of this project, which you can read about here, included the installation of hardware and software development to make the Mexe platform functional in a public school in Maputo, Mozambique. In this phase, we are testing an early version of the platform with real life users — teachers and students — to see how they engage with it.
We have now trained and are working with seven teachers who will be responsible for uploading educational content to the platform.
So far, we have found that four out of seven teachers are regularly adding content to the platform. However, the rest of the teachers still require some technical support — which we will work on as part of our next sprint.
We also selected four classes of students to test the platform with. We have trained and registered (provided log in credentials) to students from three of the four classes so far and will complete the fourth soon.
Each class has been divided into groups and each group has its own MUVA Mexe Champions (mostly girls). Most students in the classes have cell phones and have been able to register on the platform and access content. A key challenge has been that a handful of students are not able to access the platform because they either do not have cell phones or because they have very basic devices which are not compatible with the platform.
Some shots of our platform: accessible education content for teachers and students.
We have been working with the student Student Champions to address this. Students with cell phones have shared access with students who are not able to access the platform so that all students are able to register and access content. Ensuring all students have access to the platform is a priority for the project. We are also looking at working with other partners who could provide computers in the school’s library which would provide further access points to the platform.
As part of our learning from this sprint, we have been collecting regular feedback from students about their experience using the platform. The platform currently holds content covering four subject areas: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Portuguese. The feedback so far has been that the content is good but it would be better if there was more of it and it included more subjects.
Another feature that students have requested is a digital library. Students have said that they would be interested in being able to access literature, not only didactical material.
The leaders of the students groups will be in charge of compiling more feedback in the final sprints of the current pilot. This will include collating complaints and difficulties experienced by student users as well as suggestions for improvements such as additional themes, content and ways of improving the usability of the platform.
Teacher feedback has emphatically recommended engaging more students from additional classes so that there is more interaction and more students using the platform. A group of teachers has volunteered to help train other classes to use the Mexe platform. This is a great signal that our user really values the technology. We are continuing to work with the teachers to upload more content and planning how we could expand this to other classes in the school.
The long-term success of MUVA Mexe, its sustainability and ability to scale, relies heavily on what students and teachers think about the platform. It relies on them as users seeing the value of the platform and wanting to engage with it, upload content, access content and share it with others. As we approach the final sprint of the initial pilot, the feedback and examples of students and teachers wanting to share the platform with their peers is very encouraging.
Nereyda Ah-Hoy is a digital learning manager working with MUVA in Mozambique.