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Paper Video: can QR codes, explainer videos put South Africa’s matrics back on track?

In seven weeks’ time, South Africa’s 2015 matric class will begin writing their final examinations. The results of those examinations will, most likely, spark a spate of articles decrying the state of South Africa’s education system. Unless a Cape Town-based initiative called Paper Video has it’s way that is.

Describing itself as a social enterprise, Paper Video aims to bring together QR codes and explainer videos to scale up the reach of quality teachers so that every student in South Africa can gain the value of immediately being able to access an experienced teacher during their studies.

What Paper Video has done is embed video solutions into past exam papers for the subjects of Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences (Biology) and Accounting across grades 10, 11 and 12. These videos can then be accessed through the use of the Paper Video app or website.

It’s a little like Khan Academy, except applied to the specific kind of exam questions South African students will face.

If a student is struggling with a particular question, they can scan a QR code with the Paper Video app. From there, they’ll be directed to a video where an experienced teacher will take them through the problem, step by step.

Read more: 10 technologies that will have a huge impact on education in 2015 and beyond

Paper Video claims to have created the largest collection of educational videos in South Africa, with over 6 000 exam questions and their video solutions.

According to Paper Video founder Paul Marree, who has a background in Mathematics education, this means that any student can gain access to their own “personal teacher”, whenever and wherever they need help.

Around 40% of Paper Video’s offering is free (beyond the cost of an internet connection), with the full resource available for sale to those students who want access to the full selection of exam questions and videos.

To ensure that learners and schools who want the full resource but cannot afford it are not disadvantaged, the enterprise says it has partnered with the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) to ensure the sponsorship of its full resources to those who need them most.

Read more: How people are using e-learning and crowdlearning to change education

There is also a DVD alternative currently available, and an SD card will soon be available, for students who do not have access to an internet connection or cannot afford the cost of data.

“With the help of the Actuarial Society’s Educational Trust we have been able to provide our full offering of Mathematics exam questions, along with the video solutions on DVDs, to over 3 000 Matric students across the country who would otherwise not have been able to afford the full resource. This has been made possible by sponsorship from Investec and SAB on separate projects, with both donations having gone through the Actuarial Educational Trust”, says Paper Video co-founder Christopher Mills.

Mills is hopeful that with more funding Paper Video could expand its offering to more students across the country.

“With additional funding we will also be able to expand our offering to include more grades and subjects, as well as offering our solution videos in other languages. We would also like to
add subtitles to our videos for deaf and hearing-impaired students.”

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More

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