20140602_123617_resized-imp[1]Beeld, one of South Africa’s daily Afrikaans newspapers, recently ran a feature on the introduction of our MP3 Lifeplayers into South African classrooms. The country’s Department of Basic Education, in conjunction with the British Council, has launched a pilot project using our Lifeplayer to help improve the listening and speaking skills of children starting out at school.

The Lifeplayers are ideal to use in isolated, rural schools, many of which lack electricity. These are schools that often have large, multi-grade classes, with teachers having to teach many children in different grades – while all sitting in the same classroom.

Assessments carried out by South Africa’s Department of Basic Education (DBE) have found that most students struggle with listening, reading and writing skills. In partnership with the British Council, the DBE has introduced a programme called Learn English Audio Project (LEAP), which is being piloted in three of the country’s provinces.

Curriculum content for Grades R (kindergarten) to Grade 4 has been loaded onto the Lifeplayers, and colourful student and teacher workbooks created to support the content. The Lifeplayers will typically be used for a particular grade while the teacher is busy with another grade in the same class.

Our CEO, Kristine Pearson, recently attended a two-day training programme run by the DBE and British Council, for teachers who will be using the Lifeplayers.

South Africa’s DBE has christened our Lifeplayer “the Blue Lady” ̶ and she will be helping children with English listening and speaking skills, asking them questions and teaching them songs. The Blue Lady is not a replacement for any teacher, but she will be a welcome assistant in the classroom of rural South African schools.