All Children Reading: Competition Geared Towards Improving Literacy Skills
Late last month, Innov8tiv featured a report by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on how Mobile Devices Can Significantly Increase The Education Standards in Developing Countries. The reports revealed just how much potential mobile phones have in reaching out and improving the literacy levels of especially children in developing nations, who have no access to conventional reading materials.
The report identified that in order to implement use of mobile device to enable the children get access to reading materials, It was not a necessity for them to access high-end mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones; rather a simple feature phone could be used to enable the children read e-books.
The report published by UNESCO in collaboration with Nokia sampled the response of 5,000 participants, which lead to another intriguing revelation. As much as 6 billion people have access to mobile phones meaning mobile phones can be a great tool for educating the vast majority. There is a ‘screaming’ shortage of relevant educational materials to be found online. As a result, most of the mobile phone users, who use their device to get information only, can only settle for entertainment news with foreign topics such as Harry Porter, Twilight, Animal Farm and Romeo & Juliet.
To remedy this situation, a competition was launched in 2011 by USAID, Australian Government and World Vision dubbed All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GRD). The competition is geared towards leveraging science and technology to come up with innovative, scalable solutions that will improve literacy levels in developing nations. The mission of this competition is to spark creativity and innovation from the global scientists, technology enthusiasts, educators and the broader development communities to come up with cost-effective solutions that will improve reading among children while in their early grades.
While the UNESCO reports underscores the importance of mobile phones in reaching out to the vast majority of children in developing nations as a tool for reading and improving literacy skills. The ACR GRD presents the perfect opportunity of supplying more relevant educational reading materials that will address the current lack of relevant educational materials available on the mobile device reading platform.
The ACR GRD Round 2 challenge they are seeking for innovative technology based ideas that will lead to the improvement of reading skills that will lead to outcomes that focuses on the following:
- -Mother tongue instruction and reading materials.
- -Family and community engagement.
- -Children with disabilities.
ACR GCD has also launched a “Enabling Writer’s Prize Competition” intended to spark avid development of software packaged solutions that will enable authors to create and export texts in their mother tongue languages to help early-grade students learn how to read. The winner of this competition will walk away with $100,000 prize.