Quality Preschool Programmes
New product or service
Proof of Concept
Bird Tracks is a gamified formative assessment tool that enables the concept of ‘teaching to the level of the child’. The tablet-based app houses a suite of fun games and a collection of short assessment tasks across a range of early childhood domains.
Assessing how young children (aged 4 to 6) are performing in their learning and development journey is notoriously difficult – in part because they are preliterate, in part because teacher-led assessments are time-consuming and expensive. Accurate and affordable assessment methods have to date been absent in South Africa. As a result, teachers, supervisors and principals typically collect only a couple of reliable data points on each child each year. This makes regular curriculum improvements difficult. It also limits the extent to which teachers are able to fine-tune the level of attention needed for each child.
Bird Tracks is innovative in that it draws on behavioural insights and child-centred game design to create an assessment tool that actually works under real-life conditions. It is largely self-administered, inexpensive and easy to use, while still being reliable, appropriate, and psychometrically valid.
The app is designed to be used for 25 minutes per child per week, with very limited assistance from the teacher. When a child plays a game and completes an assessment, data is fed back to the teacher to help inform which children are struggling in which particular areas. Bird Tracks allows a child’s’ progress to be tracked across subject areas/functions and over time. It also allows the teacher to track the overall class’s proficiency in a given subject area/function. Additionally, supervisors or principals are able to look across a network of classrooms to see which portions of the curriculum may need to be improved.
Why we invested.
The Bird Tracks technology complements the suite of products in the Innovation Edge portfolio that are designed to support data-driven quality enhancements. Bird Tracks is an exciting initiative with a strong team, clear vision, good evidence base and excellent revenue prospects to support sustainable scale.
The Project Team
Luke Crowley (Founder) is a development economist with ten years of experience running large-scale randomised evaluations of social programmes at Innovations for Poverty Action and J-PAL Africa.
Brendon Smuts (Senior Unity Developer) has eight years experience as a Senior Unity Developer for leading Cape Town-based development houses including Sea Monster and RetroEpic. During this period, he worked with clients such as Disney and the IMVU. Brendon will continue to lead the digital development of the games and assessment tasks.