Unlocking Talent: Evaluation of a tablet- based Masamu intervention in a Malawian Primary School

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1 Unlocking Talent: Evaluation of a tablet- based Masamu intervention in a Malawian Primary School DR NICOLA PITCHFORD Associate Professor University of Nottingham

2 SUMMARY This study evaluated the tablet- based Masamu intervention, developed by EuroTalk, in supporting the acquisition of mathematical abilities in primary school children in Malawi. A Randomised Control Trial (RCT) was conducted in a medium- sized primary school in Lilongwe in which 400 children from Standard 1-4 were randomised to one of three intervention groups: a tablet- based Masamu intervention group, a tablet- based Non- Masamu control group, and a normal- practice control group. Children were pre- tested using tablets at the start of the school year on two tests of mathematical knowledge and a range of basic skills related to scholastic progression. Ambitions and attitudes towards learning were also measured. The intervention was then delivered over an 8- week period, for the equivalent of 30 minutes per day, by classroom teachers at the school, with technical support from VSO. Children were then post- tested on the same assessments as given at pre- test. A matched sample of 283 children, from Standard 1-3, was analysed to investigate the effectiveness of the tablet- based Masamu intervention. Results showed significant effects of the tablet- based Masamu intervention over and above normal classroom practice or using tablets without the Masamu software. In general, children that had received the tablet- based Masamu intervention made signifcantly greater gains in mathematical ability over the 8- week intervention period than both groups of controls. Furthermore, the greater learning gains shown by the Masamu intervention group compared to the control groups on the tablet assessments transferred to paper and pencil format, illustrating that the mathematical knowledge acquired through using tablets generalises to different contexts. In conclusion, this study shows that the tablet- based Masamu intervention developed by EuroTalk is more effective than current pedagogical practice in supporting the development of mathematical knowledge in primary school children in Malawi. Future considerations for maximising effectiveness are given. February 02,

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 Background Aims of study Methodology Design 8 Figure 1. Headteacher, Deputy Head Teacher, and Regional Primary School Advisor for Biwi Primary School Lilongwe Participants 8 Table 1. Composition of the study sample at each stage of the RCT 10 Table 2. Descriptive statistics of the matched sample Interventions 12 Location of Intervention Figure 2. Images of the Unlocking Talent Learning Centre built at Biwi Primary School, Lilongwe Assessments 14 Basic Skills 15 Mathematical Ability 15 Mathematical Concepts (MC) Maths Curriculum Knowledge (CK) Maths Curriculum Knowledge Generalisation (CKG) Ambitions and Attitudes 16 Figure 3. Illustrations of the tasks included in the assessment app Procedure 18 Enrolment 18 Figure 4. Researcher and assistant enrolling a child for the study 19 Pre- test and post- test assessments 19 Pre- test and post- test assessments 19 Figure 5. Images of the pre- test and post- test assessments 20 Interventions Data analysis Results 23 1) Effectiveness of the EuroTalk Masamu Tablet Intervention 23 Table 3. Intervention group performance at pre- test and post- test 24 2) Most appropriate Standard in which to implement the EuroTalk 25 Masamu Tablet Intervention Table 4. Effect size (Cohen s d) analyses 25 3) Difference across girls and boys to the EuroTalk Masamu 25 Tablet Intervention Figure 6. Gender histogram 26 4) Basic skills related to mathematical ability 26 Reliability and valididty of the new assessment app 27 Table 5. Reliability of the new assessment app 28 Table 6. Validity of the new assessment app 29 3

4 5) Basic skills profile of low achievers in mathematical ability 29 Standard 2 29 Standard ) Changes in ambitions and attitudes towards learning 30 Table 7. Pre and post intervention performance on the AAQ Conclusions 32 Figure 7. Developmental trajectory of maths curriculum knowledge Future considerations References Acknowledgements Appendices 37 Appendix I: Standard 1 ANOVA summary tables 37 Appendix II: Standard 2 ANOVA summary tables 38 Appendix III: Standard 3 ANOVA summary tables 40 Appendix IV: Gender ANOVA summary table 42 Appendix V: Partial correlations between basic skills 43 and mathematical abilities Appendix VI: Pre and post intervention performance on the 44 Ambitions and Attitudes Questionnaire (AAQ) for the matched sample of children 4

5 1.0 BACKGROUND Research with digital educational software has shown increased motivation (Rosas et al., 2003) and promotion of positive attitudes (Ke, 2008) towards mathematics in primary school children. However, a recent study has concluded that although technology is used in many classrooms in the West, its potential to support learning is often underutilized due to limitations in its design and content (Yelland & Kilderry, 2010). Consequently, findings regarding the attainment benefits of technology- based interventions are currently limited and contradictory (Sanford et al., 2006). For example, a large- scale study by the US Department of Education that compared three technology- based maths interventions in 6 th Grade pupils across the US reported no significant improvement in test scores over a school year compared to pupils that had received normal pedagogical practice. Furthermore, differences in test scores were not related to any of the school and classroom characteristics measured (Dynarski et al., 2007). Yet children enter primary school with a natural affinity for mathematics. Studies have shown that even babies can discriminate sets of objects that vary in number (Lipton & Spelke, 2003). Also, when children begin primary school they come with an enthusiasm for learning, which if captured and supported, could propel them towards reaching their full potential. Thus, well- designed technologies that optimise learning could serve to support development of mathematical ability in the early primary years, and provide a solid foundation on which to build further, more complex, abilities. Promoting understanding of mathematics in the early primary years is critical, as longitudinal research has shown that early mathematical understanding is highly influential on later mathematics and reading attainment at school (Duncan et al., 2007), even after controlling for other basic skills that are known to impact on scholastic attainment (Siegler et al., 2012). According to the UNESCO- IBE World Data on Education Report (2010) (http://www.ibe.unesco.org) standards in mathematics across Malawi are very poor. In tests conducted in 2004, 98% of pupils in Malawi did not possess mathematical skills beyond basic numeracy and Malawi was ranked the second lowest for mathematics of the 14 participating countries in the report. Similar findings were reported by USAID in tests conducted across 50 primary schools in Malawi in 2010 (http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pnaec139.pdf). The USAID report stated that children could only answer the most elementary and procedural of items with any sense of confidence (p. 42). Thus radical shifts in pedagogy are needed in Malawi to raise academic standards. Recent advances in digital technology could provide an alternative means of pedagogical support to current classroom practices if technology- based interventions are shown to be effective. Mobile technologies, such as tablets, might be particularly suited to developing countries like Malawi, where class sizes are typically large (average 76 primary school children per class in Malawi in 2011 according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and classroom numbers are usually small, leading to severe overcrowding. In addition, the quality of teaching in Malawi can vary greatly and many teachers may have 5

6 received poor training. Coupled with few resources to assist with teaching, the learning environment is often extremely impoverished. Consequently, within the current primary school system in Malawi it is difficult to track developmental progression of individual children, identify those that are falling behind, and provide child- centred individual tuition at a consistent level of quality. Digital technologies, such as tablets, afford many advantages to both the classteacher and their pupils, if the software is well designed and the content is grounded in a solid well- constructed curriculum that is appropriate for the child s developmental stage. Even in crowded or outside classrooms, mobile technologies, such as tablets, can deliver one- to- one interactive instruction, with clear objectives, in a consistent manner to all children, thus equating teaching quality across pupils. Children can repeat material as often as they need, thus the pace of learning is tailored to individual needs. Individual progress can also be monitored objectively and easily, using assessments built into the software. With overcrowded classes and limited resources in Malawi, tablet- based interventions could help to radically improve academic standards across the primary years. This study reports a scientific investigation into the effectiveness of a tablet- based intervention to support mathematical ability in primary school children in Malawi. EuroTalk developed the tablet- based Masamu intervention that was evaluated. Based on the National Primary Curriculum for mathematics delivered throughout primary schools in Malawi it is given in Chichewa - the official language in Malawi - via individual electronic tablets (ipad minis) and incorporates all of the features of well designed software outlined above. With the support of the Scottish Government, EuroTalk have trialled the intervention in 30 schools to date. They have commissioned this full scientific evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention, prior to considering further roll- out. 6

7 2.0 AIMS OF STUDY Principal aims: 1) Evaluate the effectiveness of the EuroTalk tablet- based Masamu intervention over normal classroom practice in supporting the development of mathematical ability in primary school children in Malawi. 2) Establish the most appropriate Standard in which to implement the EuroTalk tablet- based Masamu intervention. 3) Determine if girls respond differently to the EuroTalk tablet- based Masamu intervention than boys. Secondary aims: 4) Ascertain the basic skills related to mathematical ability. 5) Identify low achievers in mathematical ability and the associated basic skills underpinning their abilities. 6) Investigate if the EuroTalk tablet- based Masamu intervention alters children s ambitions and attitudes towards learning compared to normal classroom practice. 7

8 3.0 METHODOLOGY 3.1 Design A Randomised Control Trial (RTC) was conducted in which children from Standard 1-4 at a medium- sized primary school (Biwi Primary School) situated in an urban area of Lilongwe (capital of Malawi) were randomised to one of three groups: RED group = Masamu Tablet Intervention BLUE group = Non- Masamu Tablet Intervention PINK group = Normal Practice Children were tested on mathematical ability and basic skills associated with scholastic progression immediately before (pre- test) and after (post- test) the intervention period. The intervention period lasted for 8 weeks. Figure 1. Headteacher, Deputy Head Teacher, and Regional Primary School Advisor for Biwi Primary School Lilongwe. 3.2 Participants Table 1 summarises the composition of the study sample at each stage of the RCT. In total, 436 children were enrolled to the study. These were all children from Standard 1-4 attending Biwi Primary School on the first two days of the school year ( ). Due to constraints on intervention group size, 36 children were excluded from the study. The remaining 400 children were randomised to one of three intervention groups. Of these, 385 children were pre- tested, using a tablet- based assessment app developed specifically for this study. Children that were randomised to intervention group but not pre- tested (15 children in total) were either absent (7 children) or had transferred school (8 children) when the pre- testing took place. 8

9 Standard 4 children did not receive the intervention and served as normal classroom practice controls to establish the developmental trajectory of mathematical ability without tablet- based Masamu intervention. Accordingly, 115 children from Standard 1-3 received the tablet- based Masamu intervention (RED group) and 113 children from Standard 1-3 received normal classroom practice (PINK group) during the 8- week intervention period. Additionally, 90 children from Standard 2-3 received a tablet- based intervention that did not involve the Masamu software (BLUE group). This was a critical additional control group that was incorporated into the study design to differentiate the generic effects of using tablets over the specific effects of the EuroTalk Masamu software. Due to the limited numbers of children enrolled in Standard 1 at the start of the school year, Standard 1 children were not allocated to this Non- Masamu Tablet Intervention. For all of the analyses below, a matched sample was determined which included all children from Standard 1-3 (n = 283) that were present at both pre- test and post- test. Table 2 gives the descriptive statistics of this matched sample. 9

10 Table 1. Composition of the study sample at each stage of the RCT Study Phase Enrolment Eligible (All children in S1-4 attending school on first and second day of school year) Randomised (To one of three intervention groups) Excluded (Due to group size study design constraints) Allocation Intervention group Randomised to group Pretested Not pretested (i.e. absent at pre- test) Received intervention Did not receive intervention (i.e. transferred before pre- test) Follow up Post tested Lost to follow up (i.e. absent or transferred by post- test) Analysed Excluded from analysis (i.e. absent at pre- test or post- test or transferred) Matched sample (i.e. present at pre- test and post- test) Masamu Tablet 115 S1 = 25; S2 = 42 S3 = S1 = 24; S2 = 41 S3 = 47 1 S1 = 0; S2 = 1 S3 = S1 = 24; S2 = 42 S3 = 47 2 S1 = 1; S2 = 0 S3 = S1 = 22; S2 = 39 S3 = 44 8 S1 = 2; S2 = 3 S3 = 3 11 (9.6%) S1 = 3; S2 = 4 S3 = S1 = 22; S2 = 38 S3 = 44 Number of Children 436 (S1 = 73; S2 = 125; S3 = 152; S4 = 86) 400 (S1 = 49; S2 = 125; S3 = 144; S4 = 82) 36 (S1 = 24; S2 = 0; S3 = 8; S4 = 4) Non- Masamu Tablet 90 S1 = 0; S2 = 42 S3 = S1 = NA; S2 = 37 S3 = 46 2 S1 = NA; S2 = 2 S3 = 0 85 S1 = NA; S2 = 39 S3 = 46 5 S1 = NA; S2 = 3 S3 = 2 82 S1 = NA; S2 = 38 S3 = 44 4 S1 = NA; S2 = 2 S3 = 2 11 (12.2%) S1 = NA; S2 = 7 S3 = 4 79 S1 = NA; S2 = 35 S3 = 44 Normal Practice 113 (*195) S1 = 24; S2 = 41 S3 = 48; *S4 = (*190) S1 = 23; S2 = 40 S3 = 46; S4 = 81 3 (*4) S1 = 0; S2 = 1 S3 = 2; S4 = S1 = 23; S2 = 41 S3 = 48 1 S1 = 1; S2 = 0 S3 = S1 = 20; S2 = 38 S3 = 45 9 S1 = 3; S2 = 3 S3 = 3 13 (11.5%) S1 = 4; S2 = 4 S3 = S1 = 20; S2 = 37 S3 = 43 * S4 children were tested at pre- test only to determine the typical developmental trajectory without intervention 10

11 Table 2. Descriptive statistics of the matched sample Age (mean (standard deviation) and min- max), gender (number of females F and males M), and handedness (number of left- handed L and right- handed R children) reported for each of the standards assessed Standard Intervention group Masamu ipad Learning Centre Non- Masamu ipad Learning Centre Normal Practice Classroom S1 (n = 44) n = 22 NA n = 20 Age (months) 84 (10.8) (4.5) Gender (F:M) 10:12 5:15 Handedness (L:R) 6:16 1:19 S2 (n = 110) n = 38 n = 35 n = 37 Age (months) 91 (8.7) (9.5) (10.7) Gender (F:M) 18:20 19:16 17:20 Handedness (L:R) 8:30 7:28 2:35 S3 (n = 131) n = 44 n = 44 n = 43 Age (months) 106 (15.9) (13.4) (14.2) Gender (F:M) 22:22 24:20 24:19 Handedness (L:R) 3:41 7:37 2:41 *S4 (n = 81) NA NA n = 81 **Age (months) 133 (11.8) Gender (F:M) 45:36 Handedness (L:R) 6: 75 * S4 children were not allocated to intervention group and were tested at pretest only. ** Age (months) was not available for 5 children in S4. Descriptive statistics for Age are calculated for 76 children only. 11

12 3.3 Interventions Children from Standard 1-3 were randomly allocated to one of the following interventions. Masamu Tablet Intervention This intervention consisted of four different apps developed by EuroTalk : Masamu 1, Masamu 2, Count to 10, and Count to 20. The apps are based on the National Primary Curriculum that is delivered in Malawi and teach core mathematical concepts in a structured manner through several colourful and engaging sets of activities delivered in the local language, Chichewa. Children worked through the apps at their own pace and could practise particular activities as often as they desired. To progress to the next set of activities, children needed to pass a quiz built into the software that assessed knowledge of the set of activities the child had been working on. Teachers monitored progress of individual children through achievement charts, in which a star was awarded to each child as they passed a particular quiz. Passing a quiz required 100% accuracy, thus thoroughly assessing children s progression through the apps. Non- Masamu Tablet Intervention This intervention consisted of four different apps that are freely available to download from the Internet: Music Sparkles developed by Kids Game Club, Drawing Pad developed by Darren Murtha Design, and Toca Tailor and Toca Hair Salon developed by Toca Boca AB. These apps were chosen because they are educational (supporting musical ability and design skills), receive good customer ratings, are non- verbal, and do not involve concepts taught in the Masamu Tablet Intervention. Additionally, these apps require children to interact with the tablet in terms of manual and attentional processes in a similar manner to the Masamu apps. Throughout the intervention period, children were free to choose whichever app they wanted, as often as they wanted. 12

13 Normal Practice This intervention consisted of normal pedagogical practice delivered in primary schools across Malawi. Children followed the Malawi National Primary Curriculum, delivered in Chichewa by their classteacher, in the usual class setting. Basic numeracy (including mathematics) is taught from Standard 1. Location of Intervention: Both of the tablet- based interventions were administered in a purpose- built Unlocking Talent Learning Centre ; a small classroom within the grounds of Biwi Primary School but detached from the main school buildings (see Figure 2a). The Learning Centre housed up to 25 children at a time, sat on bamboo mats, individually using tablets connected to personal headsets (see Figure 2b). A classteacher was present in the Learning Centre during the tablet- based interventions primarily to assist the children with using the technology. Additional technical support was provided to classteachers throughout the intervention period by a volunteer from VSO. Classteachers responsible for overseeing the tablet- based interventions were given a training session prior to the intervention starting, in which they were shown how to use the tablets (turning the tablets on and off, connecting the headsets, storing the headsets (Figure 2c), charging and securely storing the tablets, and navigating through the software). They were also shown how to record attendance and progress with the Masamu software for individual children throughout the intervention period using attendance/achievement charts specifically designed for this study that were pinned to a board in the Learning Centre (Figure 2d). Children allocated to the Normal Practice intervention received the National Primary Curriculum in their usual classroom setting. 13

14 Figure 2. Images of the Unlocking Talent Learning Centre built at Biwi Primary School, Lilongwe (a) Outside of the Learning Centre (b) Masamu Tablet Intervention being delivered in the Learning Centre (c) Headphone rack constructed in the Learning Centre to ease set- up and storage during the tablet interventions (d) Daily attendance/achievement charts for the two tablet intervention groups in the Learning Centre 3.4 Assessments Tablet technology was used in the assessment of individual children on tasks of mathematical ability and associated basic skills as it enabled performance to be measured objectively, with a large sample of children, within a short period of time. Accordingly, a new assessment app was developed specifically for this study in which instructions were given in Chichewa. The app consisted of two measures of mathematical ability, six measures of basic skills known to be associated with scholastic progression, and a questionnaire measuring ambitions and attitudes. All of these measures were designed by the researcher (author of this report) and were programmed by EuroTalk. Figure 3 illustrates the different tasks. An introduction task in using the tablet was also included, which taught children the critical operations required to complete the tasks in the assessment app, including how to 14

15 select objects on the screen varying in size and how to select and move objects around the screen. Basic Skills Six measures of basic skills related to scholastic progression (see Wei et al., 2011) were developed to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the underlying difficulties low achievers in mathematics might have. Three measures (Manual Processing Speed, Manual Coordination, and Visual Attention) were speeded so the software automatically recorded response time (milliseconds). The other three measures (Short Term Memory, Working Memory, and Spatial Intelligence) were not speeded so the software recorded accuracy of response. For each task, children were given a set of practice trials to familiarise themselves with the task demands, prior to the experimental trials commencing. The tasks assessing Short Term Memory, Working Memory, and Spatial Intelligence increased in difficulty with successive trials so a discontinue rule was applied to each task that terminated the task after a set number of consecutive fails. Mathematical Ability Two measures of mathematical ability were developed: 1. Maths Curriculum Knowledge (CK) consisted of 50 quiz items taken from the EuroTalk Masamu 1 and Masamu 2 apps and thus assessed curriculum knowledge specific to the Masamu Tablet Intervention. 2. Mathematical Concepts (MC) consisted of 48 questions assessing a conceptual understanding of mathematics, similar to that used in the USAID (2010) study and the Numerical Operations subtest of the WIAT- II (Wechsler, 2005). Concepts assessed in this task included symbolic understanding, numbers in relation to each other, number line understanding, counting, number sense (quantity estimation), simple and complex addition, simple and complex subtraction, and multiplication and division. For both of these measures items were presented in a set order that increased with difficulty over successful trials. Accordingly, a discontinue rule was applied so that the task terminated after a specified number of consecutive fails. This prevented children becoming demoralised by having to answer questions that were beyond their ability. 3. Maths Curriculum Knowledge Generalisation (CKG). This additional measure was given at post- test only to assess generalisation of curriculum knowledge learned through the tablet- based intervention to a more conventional paper and pencil context. Accordingly, EuroTalk developed 50 new items that were based on those used in the Masamu Tablet Intervention. Paper tests were prepared for each child, with their photograph and study number on the front page to ease identification of individual children. These were administered in groups of 25 children in the Learning Centre, with an assistant pointing to each question as a classteacher read out the question in Chichewa. 15

16 Ambitions and Attitudes 9) An Ambitions and Attitudes Questionnaire (AAQ) was developed to assess life ambitions and attitudes towards learning. It consisted of 10 questions, given in Chichewa through the tablet- based assessment app, which required choosing one response from five pictorial options provided. Questions measuring attitudes required children to use a happy- sad pictorial likert scale to express their response by choosing one of the five faces presented that best matched how they felt (Reynolds- Keefer et al., 2009). Children were told there were no right or wrong answers to these questions and that they should choose the picture that best matched their answer. Questions 1-4 assessed ambitions through the following questions: 1. How many babies do you think you will have? 2. How much money do you think you will earn? 3. What job do you think you will do? 4. When do you think you will leave school? Questions 5-10 assessed attitudes towards school and learning through the following questions: 5. When you are at home how do you feel? 6. When you are at school how do you feel? 7. When you play with these gadgets how do you feel? 8. When you play with your friends how do you feel? 9. When someone hurts you how do you feel? 10. When someone gives you a present how do you feel? Questions 9 and 10 served as control questions to measure the extent to which children were responding reliably on this task. 16

17 Figure 3. Illustrations of the tasks included in the assessment app Task Order Function Measured Task stimuli & task instructions 1 Manual Processing Speed (MPS) Tap the green square as fast as you can 2 Manual Coordination (MCO) There are two green squares. Touch one square then the other as fast as you can 3 Short Term Memory (STM) Copy me 4 Visual Attention (VA) Touch the pink dot. Touch all the pink dots as fast as you can. Remember touch just the pink dots 5 Working Memory (WM) Watch me. You do it backwards 6 Spatial Intelligence (SIQ) Look at this pattern. Use these blocks. Make the same pattern here 17

18 Figure 3 cont. Illustrations of the tasks included in the assessment app Task Order Function Measured Task stimuli & task instructions 7 Maths Curriculum Knowledge (CK) Cross out the odd one out How many footballs are there? Touch the number Put four tomatoes on the plate 8 Mathematical Concepts (MC) Touch all of the numbers in the box Touch the biggest number Drag the numbers in order to the spaces below 9 Ambitions and Attitudes Questionnaire (AAQ) How many babies do you think you will have? What job do you think you will do When you play with these gadgets how do you feel? 3.5 Procedure The study commenced in September 2013 on the first day of the school year and continued for 10 weeks. Enrolment and pretesting was carried out over the first week by the researcher (the author of this report) and three assistants (a volunteer from VSO and a programmer and a translator from EuroTalk ). The intervention took place over the following 8 weeks and was implemented by classteachers at Biwi Primary School. Technical support was provided by the VSO volunteer. Post- test assessments were then conducted in November 2013, in week 10, by the researcher and two assistants (the volunteer from VSO and the programmer from EuroTalk ). Enrolment: Over the first two days of the school year all children that were eligible for the study were enrolled, randomly allocated to one of the three intervention groups, and assigned a study number. Enrolment included photographing each child so as to ease identification of individual children assigned to the different intervention groups. The researcher assessed handedness by presenting each child with a pencil to their midline and asking them, in Chichewa, to take it. The hand 18

19 the child used to take the pencil from the researcher was recorded as their preferred hand. Gender, Standard, and Classroom were also recorded for each child and date of birth was collected through school records. To ensure children were enrolled just once, a temporary mark was placed on the child s hand to indicate they had been registered. A computer program, developed by EuroTalk, was used to automatically assign children randomly to one of the three intervention groups. Figure 4. Researcher and assistant enrolling a child for the study Pre- test and post- test assessments: Groups of up to 50 children maximum were pre- tested or post- tested at the same time, in a regular classroom in the main school building. Prior to assessment, the tablets were set up with each child s photograph, study number, and intervention group. This aided conducting the pre- test and post- test assessments as the tablets could be handed out reliably to individual children and their data was stored automatically to their allocated intervention group. Children were tested per intervention group (e.g. Standard 1 RED) where possible. Children were collected from their classroom by one of the assistants and escorted to the classroom where the assessments were carried out. When entering the assessment classroom the researcher or assistant handed each child the tablet set up specifically for them and a headset. Children sat on the floor to carry out the assessments (Figure 5a). The researcher stood at the front of the group and demonstrated each task in the assessment app via a large tablet with instructions being orally translated by a classteacher. Children first completed a brief demonstration of how to touch and move objects on the tablet screen, so as to familiarise themselves with using the technology (Figure 5b). They then carried out each task in the assessment app, in the order specified above. To start each task children were required to swipe a large white dot on an introduction screen (Figure 5c) after which the first practice trial of that task was administered. Children worked through each task, in sequence, until they had completed all of the assessments. A large star appearing on the screen and exploding into smaller stars marked the end 19

20 of the assessment app (Figure 5d). Children took around minutes to complete the assessment app, depending on their level of ability. Upon completion, children handed their tablet and headset to the researcher or assistants and returned to their class. Figure 5. Images of the pre- test and post- test assessments (a) Children being assessed at post- test (b) Example from the ipad demonstration task (c) Example of an introduction screen to each task in the assessment app (d) Example of a completion screen marking the end of the assessment app Interventions: The intervention period lasted 8 weeks (40 school days). Each of the tablet- based interventions was administered for 20 days. Children from Standard 2-3 received the tablet- based intervention to which they had been allocated for one hour on alternate school days (20 hours maximum across the 8- week intervention period). Children from Standard 1 received the Masamu Tablet Intervention for 30 minutes on alternate school days (10 hours maximum across the 8- week intervention period). Classteachers responsible for overseeing the tablet- based interventions drew up a timetable, in which one set of teachers was allocated to the Masamu intervention (RED group) and a second set of teachers was allocated to the Non- Masamu intervention (BLUE group). The tablets used in this study were ipad Minis as these are a suitable size for young children to hold and interact with whilst seated on the floor. EuroTalk placed 50 ipads into Biwi Primary School specifically for this study. This enabled 25 ipads to be 20

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