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1. Isabelle Duston believes that to improve literacy we need to design digital education tools in mother tongue. In order to achieve this goal, we have to change paradigm and address the issue with an innovative approach.
2. This is the landscape of digital learning for native English speakers.
3. Only 5% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language. Yet, most digital educational tools for early literacy are in English.
4. This picture was taken in Kenya, where kids are being taught in English, a language they don’t speak when they enter school. Today, 50% of the children who drop out of school are not being taught in their mother tongue. I believe that all kids should have access to digital learning in their first language.
5. Meeting the need of specific language populations and developing reading applications is an idealistic vision which can be very expensive, if we do do not approach the problem with an innovative design process. I believe that there is a way to successfully create digital literacy tools for all. This can be achieved by using a “template” rather than a “tailored” approach.
6. This means creating an application that is adaptable to—and accessible by—a multitude of languages and cultures, while keeping costs at a minimum to enable a sustainable deployment.
7. Now I will go through the different aspects that have to be addressed, in order to build a framework for your a multi-cultural template approach.
1. Culture: You can try to stay very neutral or you can also try to have a continent approach like Africa. Smart4Kids choose to have heroes from different parts of the world.
2. Design: We believe that kids learn better if the application is beautiful and user friendly, instructional design is key.
3. Pedagogy: Some pedagogies are really language specific, but many are suitable accross languages, like the phonic approach
4. Technology: The program should not have to be modified when making the application for another language. The educator designing the curriculum has to be able to adapt the content, without having to change the core of the program.
5. The building process is very structured to ensure that the educational content can be integrated within the template.
8. Smart4Kids process to build the application in a given language is the following:
1. Curriculum: define approximately 30 lessons which will take the child to reading level
2. Database: the database will have all the resources needed in terms of text images, audio files, short stories...
3. Rules: This is where the educator will specify what data the program has to use for each lesson.
When the educator has completed the process, it only takes the developer a few hours to create the app. The creation of the curriculum can take up to 400 hours.
9. Digital devices have the power to transform education in the field of literacy for speakers of languages other