Learning Upgrade has launched a mobile app that enables English Language Learners (ELLs) to access their musical lessons on their own using any device, including phones and tablets, and is designed to improve students’ time on task by no longer limiting them to sitting in front of a computer.
“Low-literate, low-income adults often do not have computer and internet access at home. However, about 75% of them do own smartphones,” said Vinod Lobo, co-founder and CEO of Learning Upgrade. “If effective learning can be delivered through smartphones, more ELLs can ‘self-serve’ by downloading the program onto their phones, signing in, and making progress. This way, millions of learners who are not served by schools or adult education can finally receive quality literacy instruction.”
The app is the result of the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition, designed to address the 36 million low-literate adults in America. The competition challenges teams to develop mobile applications that result in the greatest increase in literacy skills among participating adult learners in just twelve months. The solutions will help to overcome key barriers to literacy learning by improving access, increasing retention, and scaling to meet demand.
“As the needs of our nation evolve, so must our educational resources. We are ready and willing to collaborate with any school or organization interested in improving English language proficiency among ELLs,” said Lobo. “Thanks to technology, we are able to reach even more ELLs and promote English proficiency in the U.S.”
The app includes more than 300 sequenced lessons including topics on phonics, decoding, vocabulary, grammar, writing, and listening. The curriculum includes engaging songs, videos, games, and rewards that encourage all learners to achieve mastery. Each lesson provides practice problems accompanied by immediate intervention and remediation with multimedia supports. Students can repeat lessons until they master them, earning gold certificates when they become proficient in each of the standard’s benchmarks.
The app is available now as a free download from the Google Play Store, with Apple App Store access planned for release later this year.