Ensuring parents/care-givers and children can read and write through using mobile technology.
It is widely agreed that children being able to read and write significantly increases their life chances and put most simply their life expectancy. But also a strong evidence base shows that children coming for illiterate households significantly reduces their chances of reading and writing. Having whole communities, both children and parents, who are literate and teachers who are equipped and enthused to deliver high-quality literacy tuition has been shown to have a transformative impact. The use of the phonics approach to teaching reading and writing, which has been shown to be highly effective, delivered through non-smart phones to teachers and households could make this a reality.
The use of the synthetic phonics method for teaching reading and writing has been proven to result in all pupils making significantly faster progress than those taught using convention methods (often rote learning of whole words). Examples of such studies are from Nigeria, where in Cross River State pupils taught using synthetic phonics improved their chronological reading age by 17 months after only 36 weeks of using the programme (seehttp://jollylearning.co.uk/2011/03/24/research/). Or from India where pupils from slum areas in Hyderabad, who mostly came from illiterate households, taught using synthetic phonics made significantly better progress than those taught using conventional methods (seehttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09243453.2011.625125#.VDzNdmAtDIU).
Children learning to read and write in Nigeria using the synthetic phonics approach.
Teachers in many countries, and particularly in hard-to-reach areas, not having the skills and knowledge to effectively teach reading and writing successfully and communities not having access to reading materials is holding many children back. Furthermore unfortunately many current literacy initiatives have failed using traditional approaches. The use of mobile technology will allow teachers, parents and children to access effective and contextually appropriate materials and approaches which have been shown to be highly effective.