An app created by a UK charity is helping kids in Malawi increase their math skills.

Photo Credit: Onebillion

Photo Credit: Onebillion

An app was designed to help provide a better education for kids in Malawi, but it's proven to be a successful learning tool for students in the UK as well. In a period of six weeks, math students made the same progress they normally would in a 12 to 18 month period. 

The app is from a charity called Onebillion, which aims to provide an education to all of Malawi's children. A trial program is currently being run in a primary school in Malawi, where the students get 30 minutes a day to work on a tablet with the app. The app itself is simple, fun and rigorous, as it doesn't let students progress until they receive a perfect score. 

The app caught the eye of researchers at Nottingham University in the UK, who put the learning tool to the test in a randomized control trial against other teaching apps and on its own. 

Researchers found that the Onebillion app helped kids to improve their math knowledge better than the other apps tested, and the students were also able to produce better test results than the Malawian students, where class sizes can be as big as 90 students. The use of the app was able to accelerate math learning to a point where students were making the same progress in six weeks than they normally would in 12 to 18 months. 

"What was so incredible was that in both countries we saw the same gain. One week of working on the iPads for 30 minutes a day [equaled] three months of formal education," Dr. Nikki Pitchford, who conducted the study, told the BBC. "We were amazed."

She thinks the reason why kids are so responsive to the app is because it involves bright colors, music and instant feedback. 

Onebillion's app paired with Pitchford's research shows that it is possible to give children countries like Malawi a fighting chance when it comes to their education, even when compared to the developed world. 

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