Paper Summary of ‘Mobile Devices for Early Literacy Intervention & Research with Global Reach’
In this paper, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, and Georgia State University in the U.S. examined the use of tablet computers loaded with literacy applications in a range of educational environments.
Based on their findings Reading is not natural to humans. It involves creating a new circuit in the brain by connecting linguistic, visual, cognitive and affective regions . This article provides beginning evidence for the potential of this platform to benefit students across diverse under-resourced educational settings. Its encouraging that despite challenges faced by each study population (i.e., no access to schools or schools with 50–100:1 student-teacher ratio in developing countries; low SES at-risk communities in developed countries), the three independent literacy and vocabulary pilot assessments suggest better performance overall, when compared to similar grade students who did not have access to the intervention, in this case “tablets”.
A number of key lessons will have great impact on the success and scalability of future deployments, and these may vary depending on the resources available, the context and location, and the number of children. The key point is that the less interventionist a model is, the more it can scale. Our goal should probably also be to figure out less interventionist models, with effective monitoring and evaluation to know which model(s) work. This article describes three areas that are key for this goal: content expansion, peer learning, and technological innovation.
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