Douglas Makepeace, co-founder of LEARN!
WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY / PROJECT?
Learn English Any-age Reading Now! LLC
WHY WAS IT SET UP?
Billions of people want to read English better, whether at school or for business. Many want to use the Internet to search the 55% of its pages that are in English. That's ten times more than the second largest, and 50 times more than the Indian dialects have, put together.
We offer 1,400 small, interactive steps, on mobile, from the alphabet through reading at a sixth-grade level. Now anyone with an Internet connection can learn to read English, using our web app.
The learner progresses at her/his own speed. The previous version of the steps was in Java, and was tested with children on computers. In one school year, their ability on a standard reading test increased by 50%.
We believe the mobile version will be as good or better. Children 'play' with their smartphones and tablets as if they were a video game. You can see a similar focus and attention span in a video we made with four children age 4-7.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?
The biggest thing I have learned along the way: There is a great hunger among children and adults alike, to learn. There are many great ideas in EdTech. But getting good ideas off the ground is difficult. Almost no one is quick to back unfamiliar methods and unknown people. But I have found a few!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR COMPANY / PROJECT NEXT?
The steps are complete, the web-app is complete, we need to find people to pay us for them in some way. We can't ask the children to pay!
WHY DID YOU JOIN EDSPACE?
I joined EdSpace because I like being with people who are changing education from the ground up with Ed tech. Probably I can share more ideas here than elsewhere.
WHAT CAN YOU TEACH? (ANYTHING YOU ARE SKILLED AT OR PASSIONATE ABOUT)
What could I teach? I can tell people about the nature of reading skills - and why some people find it so hard to learn - and what is the solution.
Also, reading is hugely important for anyone who wishes to make a big contribution to the world. Reading allowed great achievements by people as different as Bach, Darwin, Edison and more recently Elon Musk.
So I could give a talk about "Why reading is so important, and why some find it hard to learn, and what I am doing about it!"