It’s difficult to fathom that in our global interconnected world of information and technological advances, nearly a quarter of a billion children are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills—whether in school or not. This mass learning deficit poses one of the world’s most daunting challenges, and yet seems ripe for technology-enabled solutions.
At age 15, Louis Braille invented a system that opened up the world of reading to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and low vision. While attending the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris in 1824, he created the tactile system of six dots in a three by two grid to represent letters, numbers, and symbols.
Worldwide, there is estimated to be between 93 million and 150 million children with disabilities, though actual numbers are likely higher. Of these children, 80% live in developing countries and less than 3% are in school. Education systems often do not accommodate these children’s needs.
Adaptive technology helps children who are blind, low vision learn to read
Nine-year old Alexa was born prematurely and diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity, which caused vision loss in both eyes. She’s one of an estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or low vision.[i] Alexa also has cerebral palsy, so she uses a wheelchair.
Innovations seek to increase child literacy in developing countries
On October 5 we celebrate World Teachers’ Day to honor the critical contribution teachers make to education and development. This year we highlight pioneering teachers working hand-in-hand with All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) grantees to pilot innovations seeking to make breakthrough progress in child literacy.
Supplemental Learning to Improve School Performance in Dadaab Refugee Camp
More than 300,000 refugees live in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. It is here where many long-term and recent Somali refugees live and go to find refuge. Since its inception, Dadaab’s population has grown nearly fourfold from what was originally planned.
Indiana University School of Education Uses Open-Source Software to Develop Books for Everyone
By Scott Witzke
Director of Marketing & Communications Indiana University School of Education
Faculty, staff, students, and members of the community gathered at Indiana University to learn how to make books for all.
You may not think of radio as cutting edge technology—but it’s playing an important role in an innovative project in rural Zambia that’s bringing together mobile phones, radio, and local knowledge to help children learn to read.
“Radio in rural Zambia is the most efficient and effective way to reach our target audience,” said Angela Musonda, coordinator for Creative Associates International’s innovative project.
Software bridges gap between Moroccan Sign Language and Arabic
By Corinne Vinopol
Education of deaf and hard of hearing children in Morocco is extremely limited. More than 95 percent of primary school-aged children in Morocco attend school, but only about 15 percent of deaf children attend school.
Early grade teachers in Zambia face a myriad of challenges in teaching reading. Large class sizes, learners with limited previous exposure to books, and lack of tools and training make their jobs difficult. It is in this context that GraphoGame™ is being implemented—to equip teachers to meet these challenges and open the world of reading to their students.