We are targeting children 3+ years of age. We have designed our UX/UI so as to not “talk down” to the user, so older children and adults will also be able to take advantage of our content.
We have developed a significant volume of content that can be accessed out of order, including games, stories and rhymes. However, we believe that the ideal place to start is our set of guided lessons, which form the core of our flagship app, GLEN Learn. Here a child needs to complete one set of lessons (by clearing an assessment based on the content) before getting access to the next set. The initial focus of GLEN Learn is vocabulary building: associating the sound of a word with its image. The text is provided, but it is not necessary to make sense of it at the beginning. In the later lessons, we start throwing in sight reading and phonics. Stories and rhymes are available at any time if a child wants to take a break from the lessons. Read more.
The GLEN Learn guided lessons have built-in assessments after every few lessons, and we provide analytics, through a user dashboard, on the history of the child’s engagement with the content and the results of the assessments. We also have a separate overall assessment module that covers the entire set of lessons currently released. This assessment, which focuses on evaluating vocabulary acquisition, can be initiated at any time by a facilitator or the child by clicking the assessment module icon on the GLEN Learn main screen.
The dashboard shows the number of completed lessons, the number and results of completed assessments and the number of words introduced. We continue to add information to the dashboard that will give a detailed and accurate picture of the child’s learning progress.
Our content can be used to strengthen language skills for children in informal preschool environments, as well as a complement to in-class face-to-face instruction in K-1 school settings. Our initial pilots will focus on these settings. In future pilots, we will also explore the efficacy of our content in supporting ELLs and their parents at home.
We have designed our content to require minimal grown-up supervision. In informal settings such as home or preschool, the main role of the facilitator is to be a cheerleader, providing encouragement and ensuring that the children persist even if the material is initially difficult. They should resist helping the children directly, but encourage them to interact with their peers and work in groups. They should monitor and help with any device related issues (audio, low battery level etc).
In more formal school settings, it is up to the teacher as to how closely to supervise a child’s use of our content. We provide information in the user dashboard that enables the teacher to track the child’s progress. The teacher may adapt classroom instruction based on the strengths or weaknesses that this information reveals.
The CA ELD standards target three key goals: (1) using English purposefully, (2) meaningful interactions, and (3) knowledge of language. Achieving these goals require a great deal of effort and planning on the part of teachers in structuring lessons and peer interactions. Our current set of guided lessons may be viewed as a prequel to these efforts. It supports the CA ELD standards by targeting the fundamentals of vocabulary building, phonographic awareness and orthographic awareness, which are essential when striving for the ambitious goals laid down in the standards. Directing children to engage with our content with minimal supervision will provide teachers with more time to design and execute on the rich set of activities that the CA ELD standards demand.
In addition to our current focus on the fundamental building blocks of literacy, we are also developing interactive content for speaking and comprehension. The critical features of ELD instruction include developing literacy in academic English, understanding the meaning of (grade-appropriate) intellectually challenging content, and interacting meaningfully in English. There is no substitute for hands-on classroom instruction and peer interactions for this purpose, but our goal is to provide interactive digital experiences that supplement such activities.