November 14, 2022
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) partnered with awardee and leading EdTech innovator Benetech to sponsor the inclusive education track at the 12th annual mEducation Alliance Symposium, held November 1-4 in Washington, D.C. As sponsoring organizations, ACR GCD and Benetech hosted a roundtable and moderated a two-part panel with awardees and innovators on inclusive education.
Each year, the event links educators and learning entrepreneurs from across the world to share the best and brightest tech and non–tech interventions and solutions. This year’s theme was Wondrous Learning, which celebrated and highlighted individuals and organizations that help make learning “wonderful.” The annual event is hosted by the mEducation Alliance, a consortium of the world’s most influential groups of EdTech innovators, development organizations, and donor agencies focused on education and digital learning, particularly in low-resource contexts.
On November 1, ACR GCD and Benetech hosted a roundtable discussion for Alliance members on the development of an EdTech working group focused on inclusive education for marginalized populations. The discussion explored potential objectives for such a working group, including pooling expertise to address the learning needs of children with disabilities and EdTech use to advocate for inclusive education solutions and their applications. ACR GCD and Benetech will be hosting additional events with those interested in learning more about or participating in the working group. To learn more or participate in further working group events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 2, ACR GCD and Benetech facilitated a “Learning for All” panel with inclusive education innovators from eKitabu, University of Virginia (UVA), WonderTree and Benetech:
- Director of Disability Inclusive Education Anna Martin and Director of Studio KSL Georgine Auma of eKitabu, an ACR GCD former and current awardee, presented on their work making learning to read through early grade sign language fun through playing, signing and moving to the sound of letters. Learn more about these and other tools at eKitabu.com.
- Two UVA researchers featured COACHED, an open source app to support teaching training and coaching remotely or in person; the app is fully customizable and available in multiple languages. Learn more about COACHED.
- Muhammand Usman, CTO and Co-founder of WonderTree, featured the WonderTree app for children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. The app, which utilizes a device’s camera, helps children enhance their motor, cognitive and education skills through interactive movement based games. Learn more about WonderTree at WondeTree.co.
- Benetech CEO Ayan Kishore presented the Bookshare Reader app and massive collection of accessible books and learning materials for children with print and other disabilities. Learn more about Bookshare.
Immediately following that panel, ACR GCD Chief of Party Sergio Ramirez-Mena moderated an Engaging All Learners panel focusing on increasing literacy for children who are deaf and hard of hearing with innovators from the Rochester Institute of Technology National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID). Professor Christopher Kurz, Associate Professor Patrick Graham and Open@RIT Director and Professor Stephen Jacobs shared progress and lessons learned from two of their ACR GCD funded awards, which include producing sign language books in multiple languages on Deaf World Around You, an award winning multilingual platform, and using the “rhythm and rhyme” methodology to help preschool children learn letters through play.
“ACR GCD’s participation was instrumental to strengthen our network among former and current awardees and many other innovators with reading and literacy solutions,” says Ramirez-Mena. “The EdTech and learning space is alive and thriving with new ideas and exciting applications for children in developing countries.”
ACR GCD is a partnership between USAID, World Vision and the Australian Government.