Does Education Technology Put More Responsibility on Parents?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Education technology company Ooka Island is targeting parents and communities, not just teachers, in its quest to eradicate illiteracy. Is it a great example of technology's potential or a reflection of a broken school system?

"Our game is designed to act like a live tutor that responds and adapts to each child," says Joelle MacPhee, Director of Reading Partnerships, from her Manhattan office. The technology startup is the second successful venture in a MacPhee family mission that began over 40 years ago.

"My father was born with only 5% of his hearing," explains MacPhee. "My grandmother (Dr. Kay MacPhee, former educator) found the school system wasn't geared toward his learning needs so she researched and developed a supplemental program to help him."

Hearing-impaired kids aren't the only ones with learning difficulties. In their 2011 Nation's Report Card, the National Center for Education Statistics found 68% of all US fourth grade students cannot read at the proficient level. Two-thirds of those kids will end up in jail or on welfare, the study claims.

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