Empathy fuels a unique approach to adult literacy
Passion abounded within the team of interns, each with their own powerful reason for jumping headfirst into the project. “Tackling literacy is such a huge brief; we spent a lot of time scoping that down to something we tackle during an internship,” shares Kit Weil, the Design Intern for Read My World. The team began deep research on low literacy communities around the world and why someone might encounter challenges as they built English reading and writing skills. “We were surprised to learn that adult literacy is a challenge everywhere, even in Canada,” adds Kate Macdonald, the Program Manager Intern of the project. “There are great programs for learning English, but someone might not have the time funds, or access to a long and periodic classroom style experience.
The Garage intern team decided to zero in on building an experience that could take a unique approach to helping busy adults grow English vocabulary outside of the classroom. After conducting research and speaking to local non-profits and government agencies helping adults master the English language, the team landed on a clearer picture of their target user and a tool that would help: adults learning English that wanted to supplement their classroom training with a vocabulary builder or adults that couldn’t participate a class at all due to high costs or conflicts with work or family care schedules.
Nicole Joyal, a Software Developer Intern, shares “Originally, we were planning more of a lesson plan style approach, but through our research and discovery we realized a Swiss army knife might be more useful. We wound up building a tool that can help you throughout your day-to-day rather than something that teaches.”
Grow vocabulary from objects found in the world around you
Key features include:
- Take a photo to identify an object from a library of over 1500 vocabulary words
- Take a photo to identify vocab words in documents or other written mediums
- See the spelling and hear the phonetic pronunciation of identified vocab words
- Save photos with corresponding identified word to a personal dictionary for later reference
- Practice saved words with any of three vocabulary games
As learners use the app, the team hopes they will not only build their mastery of everyday vocabulary, but also their confidence. “I’m the first person in my family to go to university, and it’s been such a humbling and empowering experience to provide a similar opportunity, even in this small way, to those who might only imagine dreaming of this,” shares Kit.
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