Nine global EdTech solutions to support out-of-school children during the Coronavirus outbreak

ACR GCD-funded innovations available in multiple languages and across variety of devices to support early-grade literacy.

Nine global EdTech solutions to support out-of-school children during the Coronavirus outbreak
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A young girl reads a book on the Global Digital Library. Photo credit: Pal Laukli

As the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 Coronavirus a global pandemic, schools around the world have either closed or are preparing for possible closures.

These developments have created a significant shift to online learning and education technology to provide Ministries of Education, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others the tools to support children impacted by education lapses. 

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development’s mission focuses on advancing EdTech innovation and research to improve literacy for children in low-resource contexts. One focus area of our programming has been supporting the education of children impacted by crisis and conflict, including disease outbreaks, refugee crises, and natural disasters. 

Through multiple grant and prize competitions, we’ve funded and tested dozens of solutions to improve literacy and learning outcomes for children who have limited or no access to books, quality education or personalized learning. While the intention of these solutions is to support children in low-resource contexts, they can be used to support the learning needs of children anywhere. 

Here’s a roundup of nine ACR GCD-funded and tested solutions available for free in multiple languages and, once downloaded, don’t require a continuous Internet connection. We encourage Ministries of Education, implementers and others to leverage these tools to support children’s educational needs during school closures: 

  • Global Digital Library: This open source digital library offers free accessible eBooks in more than 40 languages readable on the web, mobile, or for downloading and printing. The books can also be translated or localized directly on the platform.
  • Feed the Monster: A winner of ACR GCD and Norad’s EduApp4Syria prize to support the education needs of out-of-school Syrian refugee children, Feed the Monster is an early literacy digital gaming app that teaches children reading and writing fundamentals while collecting and growing their pet monsters. Available in more than 50 languages on Google Play, and in Arabic on the App Store, research shows the app improves children’s early literacy skills and psychosocial wellbeing. 
  • Antura and the Letters: Also a winner of ACR GCD’s EduApp4Syria prize, Antura and the Letters is available in English and Arabic on Google Play, the App Store and Windows download. Designed for children age 4 and older, the app enables children to catch letters hidden around the world, solve puzzles and earn gifts, alongside Antura the dog. Like Feed the Monster, the research conducted on use of Antura and the Letters shows improvement in children’s early literacy skills and psychosocial wellbeing.
  • Bloom: The winner of ACR GCD’s Enabling Writers prize, Bloom enables teachers, parents and children to easily create leveled and decodable children’s books in any language. Books can be adapted from shell books, or new resources created using Bloom software’s templates for basic books, picture dictionaries and wall calendars, with images available from its free illustration library. Don’t want to create the books yourself? Access the Bloom Library, with basic leveled and decodable books available in more than 220 languages.
  • eKitabu: Winner of ACR GCD’s Book Boost: Access for All, Sign On For Literacy and Begin With Books prizes, eKitabu offers dozens of books for free download and readable via free e-reader software. eKitabu’s Studio KSL (Kenyan Sign Language) and Studio RSL (Rwandan Sign Language) also offer several sign language videos and sign language storybooks to support accessible, early grade reading. 
  • World Around You: Funded through ACR GCD’s Sign On For Literacy prize, WAY enables communities to create content in local and national sign languages and share it in WAY’s open content digital library of folktales. The digital libraries are viewable from any web browser and can be remixed by anyone, including children, with simple text and video editing tools. 
  • Bookshare: Children and adults with disabilities such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia and cerebral palsy can access thousands of accessible books on Benetech’s Bookshare platform. Benetech was a winner of ACR GCD’s 2014 grant competition, using the Bookshare platform to provide students who are blind in India access to accessible reading materials. The library is provided to individuals with disabilities for free or low cost, depending on the support of local partners in your region. 
  • KitKit School: A finalist of ACR GCD’s Sign On For Literacy prize, KitKit School is a tablet-based early learning program that includes a suite of games, books, videos, and art and music tools in Swahili and English to support children in learning literacy and math skills independently.
  • Sema: A finalist of ACR GCD’s EduApp4Syria prize, the Sema package of apps enable children to teach themselves how to read, write and do basic numeracy. The curriculum was designed in collaboration with pedagogy experts and teachers in Africa. 

Explore all ACR GCD-funded solutions

Access dozens of EdTech research reports and resources

Have you used one of these solutions? Contact us!