New app simplifies science for SA pupils

Johannesburg – Innovator Mbangiso Mabaso has introduced Sisanda App Universe to simplify science education in South Africa.

The 30-year-old electrical engineer said studying at a public school in Botshabelo, Free State, with no science lab inspired the idea to build an app that would bridge the gap between public and private science education.

He said they had to imagine what they were being taught and imagining something they have never had a glimpse of was the most challenging thing he had to go through as a science stream pupil, especially when it came to national exams.

“I experienced my own challenges back then, which most public school pupils are still suffering from right now, but now we also look at how everyone has been badly affected by the pandemic.

“Children need to study from home, and even though there is no lab at home, the exams will still ask about different parts of the heart and how it looks inside out,” he said.

The app comprises a bundle of science apps that allow pupils to use their smartphone cameras to project digital science apparatus to continue their syllabus outside the school science laboratory.

Mabaso said it is activated through T-shirts and puzzle cubes, which can be purchased on his website to give an augmented reality – a 3D view of real-life features on a digital device.

But he was quick to highlight that they were currently working to ensure that the app can function without being activated through the T-shirts and puzzle cubes that pupils have to buy to ensure that more children can use the app.

“The T-shirts and puzzle cubes work almost like a barcode to give a 3D view of what one needs to study at that particular moment. We cover many science subjects, and because science is forever confirming something new, we are also updating our features at all times,” said Mabaso.

“Visual education is very important and makes it easier for parents to help with schoolwork when their children are working from home. This is why I always find it hard to put an age restriction, you are just never too young or too old to learn, honestly.”

The free app covers the curriculum assessment policy statement syllabus for natural sciences, technology, physical sciences (chemistry) and life science.

This means it can be used by pupils from grade 4 to 12.

Currently supported by the Technology Innovation Agency, an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation, he said they were also trying secure a partnership with the education department to have the app on pupils’ laptops.

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