When I interacted with one parent during needs assessment for the Boldungu application, she could not understand why, Erica (not real name) – in primary seven vacation could not estimate the number of floor tiles needed to resurface their living room and yet he had scored not only a distinction in mathematics, but aggregate 4 in total. Taking a good look at most national curriculum for mathematics, they elaborately cover how to workout areas of shapes including areas of combined shapes in form “L”, “T”, “F”, trapeziums, and parallelograms to mention but a few. In fact they also cover measurements including instruments used to measure length.

As the mother explained, she expected Erica to determine the dimensions of the living room, determine the dimensions of each tile and proceed to calculate the number of tiles needed. As the discussion raged on, we formulated a belief that there is a disconnection between the school brain and real brain especially for mathematics at lower learning levels. In the majority of the learners mind, the mathematics for school is understood and ends in class using the school brain. Questions outside the school are approached using the real brain, which encounters them as brand new concepts.

One approach to this problem is to try and bring real life questions into the classroom setting. But this does not help much as the learners still seem to store this knowledge in the school brain as long as it is delivered from the school. Our approach at Boldungu is to two fold. First, Boldungu is designed for use outside the classroom. Secondly, we have weekly activity packages that are structured for practical hands on activities and learners share their results via whatsapp. That way, we hope to bridge the gap between the two brains. We are also working on other tools and technologies to fuse these brains, because we understand that all knowledge covered in the school setting must be applied in the real word.