Learning Mathematics with Interactive Technology in Kenya Grade-one Classes
While countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made significant progress towards achieving universal school enrolment, millions of students lack basic numeracy skills. This paper reports the results of a pilot study that aimed at using the Emergent Literacy in Mathematics (ELM) software to teach mathematics in early primary grades in Kenya. Designed as a pre- and post-test non-equivalent group research, the study unfolded in 14 grade-one classes from 7 primary public schools. After having learned with ELM for about two terms, the experimental students (N = 283) considerably outperformed their peers (N = 171) exposed to traditional instruction with the effect sizes of +0.37 on the overall skills measured by a standardised test of mathematics. The impact of ELM activities was the greatest on students’ ability to take language and concepts of mathematics and apply appropriate operations and computation to solve word problems. On this set of skills, the magnitude of difference between the experimental and control groups was +0.77. This study also revealed some positive shifts in the teachers’ perceptions about their practice. The teachers who adopted ELM in their practice reported having gained more confidence in mathematics and comfort in teaching mathematics with computers.