Original Research

A modified analytical framework for describing m-learning (as applied to early grade Mathematics)

Nicky Roberts, Garth Spencer-Smith
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a532 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.532 | © 2019 Nicky Roberts, Garth Spencer-Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2017 | Published: 28 May 2019

About the author(s)

Nicky Roberts, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, Soweto, South Africa
Garth Spencer-Smith, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, Soweto, South Africa

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Background: There has been little Southern African research attention on the potentials of m-learning to support quality mathematics learning for young children and their caring adults. This article argues that m-learning research has shifted from claims of being promising to claims of effect in educational settings of both classrooms and homes. This is particularly the case in mathematics, where there is increasing evidence of positive (although modest) improvement in learning outcomes.

Aim: This article modifies an analytical framework for initial descriptions of m-learning interventions. Comparison between interventions in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) context is then possible.

Setting: Three large-scale m-learning interventions focused on early grade mathematics in the SADC countries.

Methods: Targeting the early grades and building on an existing framework for describing m-learning interventions, three large-scale m-learning interventions from within the SADC were purposively selected. The three interventions exemplify a possible way to describe the learning theory and pedagogical emphasis underlying the design of their mathematics programmes.

Results: The cases themselves contribute to understanding the m-learning landscape and approaches to early grade mathematics in the SADC in more detail.

Conclusion: A modified analytical framework is offered as a means of describing m-learning in ways that attend to children’s and caregivers’ use of mobile devices, as well as the underlying learning theories.


early grade; mathematics; m-learning; Africa; analytical framework; ICT


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