Dybuster Colour Game – Using Colours to Map Letters to Sounds

Multi-sensory learning helps students approach a subject like spelling or maths through the use of different senses. When playing the Colour Game in Orthograph, Dybuster’s software for children with dyslexia, students associate letters with colours and also with sound. This activates new learning channels in the brain and helps children to map spoken sound to written letters, something that is difficult for dyslexics.

The video below shows the game in action and provides a voice-over guide. You can test the game yourself for free by visiting the Orthograph Trial page. No download is necessary; you can access the program in your browser.

Meet the Dybuster Team

It’s a bright sunny day in Zurich, the city where our company Dybuster is based (Orthograph and Calcularis were developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Also bright and kind of sunny, or at least orange, is the new hair color of one of our software developers, Michael. We decided to share the sunshine on our blog by making a quick introduction (with photos!) of the Dybuster team.

 

christianChristian Vögeli

Our company founder and CEO. Christian has a background in computer science and is now the head of Dybuster. The company is his baby; he lives in Lucerne with his wife Mirjam and three other babies.

 

 

 

 

justinJustin Henskens

Strategic marketing analyst, dyslexic, and huge Doctor Who fan. Fluent in five languages. Often the moving spirit behind lunch breaks.

 

 

felixFelix Fontein

Software developer and possessor of PHD in mathematics. Spends his free time reading books, taking photos, and writing programs.

 

 

michaelMichael Bürge

The one whose hair brought the sunshine today. Missing in this photo are the glowing red contact lenses. Michi works in software development at Dybuster.

 

 

James Wright

Social media manager, currently writing this post at this very minute. Artist and a dyslexic!

 

 

 

 

Not in the office today and so out of phone camera range were: Ueli Zberg, our point of contact for schools and a secondary school teacher himself; and Caroline Geissmann, our head of office administration who keeps Dybuster running smoothly. In the office but keeping out of phone camera range is the final member of our software development team, who asked to be described as an anonymous guy with a rainbow mohawk.

Guest Post: The Disability Co-operative Network

Our guest post this week is written by Becki Morris, who “works in and loves museums” and is passionate about “museum access for people with neurodiversity, including dyslexia and dyspraxia”. Discover the Disability Co-operative Network and their work in making museums more accessible to people with disabilities.

glass bridgeThe Disability Co-operative Network was launched on 15 September 2015 at the Royal College of Physicians for the heritage and cultural sector. The network’s aim is to share information, knowledge, and case studies, and to develop ideas.

The network also brings museums and the cultural sector into consultation with commercial and charity sectors and disabled people. Our over-arching goal: to develop change within the heritage and cultural sector for diversity in the workplace and access to museums for a wider audience.

This is achieved by a website for people to share their projects and experiences, creating a free digital resource to break down barriers. The DCN Twitter account keeps people up to date with the latest news, information, and website updates.  We are planning a blog as part of the site for disabled people to share their experiences of cultural venues.

We are currently collecting more case studies, links and further information including terminology to raise confidence, challenge preconceptions, and break down barriers. We are also developing working relationships with groups, charities and businesses in relation to how they develop networks and support for employers and employees within their businesses. This includes how they identify and challenge barriers to supporting talent in their workplace.

Our aim is to keep the network as accessible as possible without a membership fee so that finances do not become a barrier to participate.

For further information please contact the steering group at info@musedcn.org.uk or visit the Disability Co-operative Network website.

EdTech in Africa: Resource

infoDev is a program created by international development agencies, including the World Bank. It concentrates on the use of ICTs (information and communication technologies) in developing countries to address a variety of issues. Among these issues is that of education. The program has in the past supported pilot projects to promote the use of ICTs in developing countries and now focuses on research and training.

In 2007 infoDev put together a survey looking at ICTs and their use in education in Africa. The report was based on country surveys from 53 African countries.

Titled Survey of ICT and Education in Africa, the survey provides an overview of ICT/education policies in different countries and identifies challenges in implementing those policies. A highly interesting read for anyone interested in edtech in developing countries, the survey can be viewed in PDF format here. To read through the individual country reports, have a look at the relevant page on the infoDev website.

ICTs and Girls’ Education

In the developing world 42% of girls are not enrolled in school. Over 50 million girls live in poverty.”

Global Education Fund

Continuing our series focused on edtech in developing countries, we are looking today at the potential in technology for furthering girls’ education. According to UNICEF’s entry on Girls’ education and gender equality, providing education to girls in developing countries comes with a host of positive impacts. Women who receive an education are more likely to delay childbirth, earn higher wages, and avoid HIV and AIDS than women who do not.

Keeping girls in school remains a challenge in many nations around the world, as does training female teachers and role models. What role could information and communications technologies (ICTs) play in furthering these goals?

Below is a video from UNICEF Activate Talk that took place in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A panel of five speakers present their views on the power of bringing technology to bear on education and the possibilities this opens up for girls and women around the world.

Fuller details on the UNICEF website: Connecting Through ICT: Empowering Girls Through Education.

All Children Reading: Literacy and EdTech

All Children Reading is a project launched in 2011 by USAID, World Vision, and the Australian government. Its purpose? To promote literacy in developing countries through technological innovation. In a quote from the official website, the organization states:

…a 2013/2014 UNESCO report indicates that 250 million children across the globe are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills.

In a first round of grant awards, All Children Reading chose 32 projects in over 22 countries to support. From interactive whiteboards in Haiti to a low-cost digital platform for mother-tongue educational material in Zambia, the projects all strove to bring the power of reading and writing to disadvantaged children. A full list of the grant-recipients along with project descriptions is available here.

blackboard

From 2014 through 2017, All Children Reading will again be funding projects and also supporting a number of competitions to further develop ICT solutions to illiteracy. One of the most exciting calls for submissions is EduApp4Syria, launched in partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. The project aims to develop a mobile app to aid Syrian refugee children in learning to read in a way that is fun, engaging, and improves their pyschosocial well-being. For more details click here.

You can find the latest updates on the All Children Reading website or blog.

EdTech in Developing Countries

There is no doubt that education is one of the most potent tools for combatting poverty (see this U.N. report on Education First for more information). Yet the need for teachers, school supplies, and other resources remains dire in many countries.

We are going to be doing a series of posts on educational technology in developing countries here at the Dybuster blog. We warmly welcome readers to share their thoughts and experiences as we begin to explore this topic. Leave your comments at the end of a post or get in touch via our contact form.

Our first research on edtech in developing countries led us to the EduTech blog on the World Bank website. Written by Michael Trucano, the blog is a must-read for anyone looking for insights into the use of ICTs (information and communication technologies) around the world.

The post that initially led us to the blog was this one from 2014: In search of the ideal educational technology device for developing countries.

Trucano lists what he considers to be top considerations for designers looking to create devices for populations in developing countries. His first five priorities:

  • affordability
  • accessibility
  • connectivity
  • electricity
  • usability

Read through the article to get the full picture on each of these attributes. However the author’s perhaps most salient point comes right at the end:

If you really want good answers to these sorts of questions, you should ask the people themselves to whom you hope to sell such devices. Better yet: Work with them (observe them, talk with them, hire them, fund them) as part of your design process. 

Michael Trucano – Read more.

What do you think? What considerations should edtech designers and producers keep foremost in their minds as they look to create devices for developing countries?

Dybuster Coach and Analytics

Dybuster software is designed to allow children to practice reading and math independently. Orthograph and Calcularis guide the user through a series of learning games that increase with difficulty according to a child’s progress and learning needs. The software has been shown to help children with dyslexia and dyscalculia improve their spelling and math skills.

However the software is not designed to replace teachers or therapists. Teachers and parents are the most important guides of a child’s learning path. To give those guides the best possible overview of a student’s progress, we include Dybuster Coach with every school and home license of our software.

Both Orthograph Coach and Calcularis Coach give parents access to in-depth feedback on how often their child has used the software and how long each session has lasted. Reports include which words or math problems have been practiced and which ones still pose difficulties. Statistics predict error probabilities. The Modules feature in Orthograph Coach allows parents to create lists of words tailored to their child’s practice needs.

Teachers and specialists can use the analytics in Dybuster Coach to track an entire classroom’s progress, compare how different students are doing, and create individual reports. They have an immediate overview as to which students are developing what skills, as well as information on length and frequency of the practice sessions. This detailed feedback can then be used to supplement a teacher’s other instruction or to aid in a dyslexia or dyscalculia intervention program.

To test out Dybuster software for yourself, please visit the Orthograph trial page (software for dyslexia) or the Calcularis trial page (software for dyscalculia).

Dybuster Coach: track and analyze a child’s progress as he or she develops letter and number skills.

Top 5 Dyslexia Websites

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Looking for some top quality dyslexia resources? Check out this list of top five sites culled from our favourites!

Understood.org
This site aims to further understanding and awareness of a range of learning differences, including dyslexia. From symptoms to treatments to guidance on talking to your child about dyslexia, this site is a must-visit for dyslexics and their families.

Dyslexic Advantage Blog
A veritable wealth of current information on dyslexia, including federal guidelines for student accommodations, this blog also features inspiring figures with dyslexia. These latter run the gamut from an MIT professor to Mark Ruffalo. Bonus points for a post featuring the one and only Winnie the Pooh. 🙂

TheCodpast.org
How can you resist that name? The Codpast features podcasts on a host of topics from why dyslexics make great secret agents to more education-centered stories for parents.

Dyslexia Help
From the University of Michigan, this site provides useful lists of apps for dyslexia and assistive technology and software. Especially good for locating practical technological aids for learning differences.

Dyslexia Headlines
For keeping up with all the latest dyslexia news, this site is invaluable. A steady stream of news stories that relate to dyslexia appears in the site’s blog stream.

This list definitely is not exhaustive; there are too many great sites out there! What are your favorite dyslexia websites? We are in the middle of re-designing our own dyslexia learning games site; stay tuned for a new look soon!

Signs & Symptoms of Dyscalculia

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Dyscalculia receives less press than does dyslexia. Parents and teachers may not even be aware that dyscalculia exists, much less recognise what could be signs of the learning difference. We’ve put together a list of things to watch out for if you think your child may have a learning disability in math.

Some of these signs are more established through research while others have been reported by teachers, parents, or dyscalculics themselves.

Signs of dyscalculia

  • Slowness in learning to count
  • Difficulty in comparing quantities (larger vs. smaller)
  • Difficulty in recognising quantities, even small numbers of objects
  • Difficulty in understanding “math words” such as “greater” or “less than”
  • Lagging behind peers in learning simple arithmetic such as easy addition
  • Reliance on slow methods of performing math, such as counting on fingers for addition or adding up numbers for multiplication
  • Difficulty in telling time from an analog clock
  • Difficulty in keeping track of time
  • Inability to count out change or estimate costs
  • Anxiety when faced with number-related tasks; math anxiety

The presence of one or more of these signs does not necessarily add up to a dyscalculia diagnosis.

If you think your child or student may have a learning disability then an evaluation from a professional is a key step to getting a child the support that he or she needs. But with this list perhaps educators and parents can become more aware of dyscalculia and how it affects children at home and in the classroom.

More information is available on sites such as Understood.org, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and the British Dyslexia Association. You can also contact us for information on our intervention software for dyscalculia.

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