IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Personalised reading technology will help children across Europe

6 March 2017

Young girl reading

A new project led by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) will create personalised learning software for primary school children across Europe, in an attempt to increase their reading attainment skills.

Led by Dr Mina Vasalou, the project, 'iRead', will target both first and second language learners including children with dyslexia, who are at risk of exclusion from their education.

Dr Vasalou, Principle Investigator, said:

"When children learn to read, they acquire the same skills but in different ways. iRead is grounded in a personalised learning paradigm that allows us to adapt the content and pedagogical approach to the profile of each learner group. This includes children with dyslexia who need more reinforcement and practice of their decoding skills.

"One of the main goals of the project will be to foster and enable the adoption of the new technologies developed for teaching reading skills across a range of educational providers and homes both within and outside of Europe. We will work in mainstream settings, inclusive classrooms, urban and rural schools, special education provision, foreign language schools and an outward looking open pilot. Our ultimate goal is to achieve scalability across a very large number of schools and students."

Dr Vasalou explains that iRead will also support new industry players in the literacy and language market to fast track their development by providing them with much-needed technical and pedagogical resources.

To achieve this, the team will build on existing commercial technology and research prototypes to create the personalised apps. The team will also develop an open, scalable, cloud-based software infrastructure to personalise technology for children's learning to read. Industry engagement of the use of the infrastructure will be in part fostered through an ongoing collaborative incubation activity with new industry partners who will be given support from project members on how to use these resources.

The €5.5m project is funded by the H2020 programme of research and is led by the UCL Knowledge Lab, with 16 other partners across industry and education.