Rules for Supplementing Learning with Tablets in Rural South Africa

Linky Nkuna – Project Manager at Madlala Digital Learning Centre – has been working on improving digital skills in South Africa’s most rural areas since 2010. As digital devices begin to enter this space more and more, Linky has seen a lot of mismanagement and fear in how to incorporate digital learning into “traditional” learning.


Linky leading a digitally empowered class at Madlala High School in Mpumalanga.

Here are Linky’s four recommendations for working with tablets in rural settings:

Start with what you have even if it’s just one or two tablets
Our classrooms are over-crowded, if you have two tablets, take them to the learners and the rest will follow.

Encourage learners to work in groups
That way they learn essential life skills like caring, sharing and to support and help one another. This is group problem-solving at its best.


Linky Nkuna introducing a group of Grade 9 pupils to math’s and English games on a tablet.

Get the teachers involved
Our elders find the digital world to be quite scary, it doesn’t help that the learners pick it up way faster than them and you want to make sure you don’t leave the teachers behind. After all they are the ‘real’ teachers, so set time aside for them as well and introduce them to the world of digital fun.

Have lots of fun
Find fun apps to engage the learners. you don’t want to do the same thing that the teacher is doing in class with them, otherwise they get bored and wonder ‘what was the point’. You want to make sure you have lots of games, for games are fun and learners get to learn how to read and spell while having fun.


Rule number 1: Have fun!

Do you have any recommendations to add?