The current situation for many pupils in the world right now
Due to COVID-19 and the closure of schools, around 1.5 billion students in 180 countries are not going to school according to UNESCO. Only in Sweden, 352 286 Swedish pupils in gymnasium (high school) are currently studying from home. According to BRIS annual report 2020, 60% of the incoming calls concerning stress to BRIS in Sweden is related to school stress and a fear of not performing well enough. Quality Education is #4 of FN:s sustainable development goals, and currently 617 million youth across the world lack basic mathematical skills. Keeping education going is vital in order to control the consequences of COVID-19, and studying from home is a challenge.
Dothemath (https://dothemath.se/) is an initiative created in Sweden around 3 weeks ago that is already up and running at full speed. It currently has 1539 volunteering university students and teachers and about 6541 registered pupils who receive help through Slack. The pupils post a question in a Slack channel and the helpers start helping by starting a thread in slack. A chat is then held between the pupil and helper, and ends when the pupil has received help with the math question. We have a channel for every math, physics and chemistry course in Swedish school from 6th grade in secondary school to 3rd grade in high school.
During Hack the Crisis Sweden, our team developed DoTheMath further by building a beta version of an easy to use, online web chat, which now can be reached here https://dothemath.app . Feel free to try it out and please write something to acknowledge that it is you and we will respond from inside Slack. The basic idea is that the pupil who wants help visit the website, choose the subject they want help with and type in their question. The first time they visit the website they will be asked to enter a nickname, accept cookies and the user agreements. When they post their question, their questions will be transferred into Slack - The pupil never actually enters Slack. The pupils message is sent to our server, which processes the message and forwards it to Slack via a Slack Application that we have developed. The Slack Application transfers the pupils nickname and forwards their question into Slack. When a helper responds, they start a thread in Slack and send a message. The helper’s message is then forwarded to the webchat and as the conversation proceeds, it continues in the webchat for the pupil and in Slack for the helper. Every original message sent from the webchat will be sent as a message directly into the channel, and all proceeding messages in that session will be sent in the thread that is attached to the original message. This feature leads to two important consequences, the first one is that the channels in slack automatically will be kept tidy, and the second one is that the channels are unspammable.
Why we are here
We are now here to develop this concept further, to add more functions and get the beta version ready for launch. We will also come up with ideas on how to scale this up to other countries.