Can technology help education overcome illiteracy?
One of the panelists, Steven Duggan, is director of worldwide education strategy for Microsoft Corporation. Duggan commented that Microsoft has "recently turned its attention to the importance of literacy and creating tools for the most basic of needs."
"We’re only focused on literacy because we started to listen.” Microsoft questioned teachers about the challenges the face in the classroom. The response was literacy, and when Microsoft researched the issue, they realized why it is such a consuming issue for educators.
They found few books were printed in minority languages, while other children simply had no books in any language. Microsoft acted by launching Lit4Life and the Chekhov Story Author App. Teachers can use these tools to write, and publish their books to a cloud-based network. A book recording option was added once Microsoft learned that 31% of illiterate children come from an illiterate home.
These resources are a benefit to all learners, both with and without disabilities, by relying on principles of universal design to help make literacy more accessible.
Given Microsoft's commitment to overcoming illiteracy, what other accessibility issues do you see with students whose illiteracy is impacted by a disability? What challenges can technology apply the principles of universal design to, in order to reduce barriers for learners with disabilities?