Virtual maths camp

COVID induced innovation

In 2020 our partners, AMI, AMI Ghana and SAMI’s plans for maths camps across 5 or more African countries had to be cancelled. However there was the desire to do something new to support students and enable activities to proceed in spite of difficult situation. Efforts were combined to create a collection of phygital resources, that is resources that combine the physical and digital worlds. At the heart of this effort was a pack of cards, with each card containing a stand alone nugget which, with the help of the booklet or digital aids, could be fleshed out into a full activity. 

Each suit had corresponding set of activities, namely puzzles, games, fun facts and counting problems, with of course jokes on the jokers. The activities were created from existing or potential maths camp sessions following a standardised format aimed at being easy to facilitate. Activities aimed to be equally appropriate for individuals in isolation or small groups with peer-like facilitation.

Steps towards a technological ecosystem

An IDEMS contribution was to build the resources into a technological ecosystem, with the card deck, booklet, website and a chatbot all part of a common authoring system. This included a small financial contribution which supported a Ugandan internship to build the website and a more substantial time commitment which included developing the chatbot.

Now the cards themselves have been well received and have increasing demand the intention is to expand the digital component and build phygital interventions that bring the cards and their digital counterparts together with human facilitation. This may take a number of forms but a key effort is being placed on maths game ambassadors.   

Moving towards ambassadors

Training youth to play games with their friends and others seems to be a winning idea especially if the games they are playing naturally and explicitly improve their mathematical capabilities. This is the heart of the Maths games ambassador programme that IDEMS is supporting. Our breakthrough on this came because the Virtual Maths Camp card deck is a sufficient resource on it’s own for an ambassador to start out with. Containing over 50 well designed activities along with unlimited expansion potential for digitally enabled.