A step-by-step application for learning to read
New technologies are increasingly being used in the learning process, particularly through the development of Serious Games. The gamification of learning processes helps students to engage more easily in their education and obtain better results.
Teaching reading to students with intellectual disabilities is a major challenge for special education teachers. A recent research project was conducted by the Haute école pédagogique du canton de Vaud (HEP) to help these students to progress in their early learning in reading
The purpose of the research was to develop, with and for teachers, a reading instruction program adapted for these students and to evaluate its effectiveness. This evidence-based methodology consists of clear, structured and intensive instruction of the skills essential to learning to read. Printed cards are frequently used during the varied activities that are led by the teacher.
The software application named Decodi was created by the research team in collaboration with ELCA Digital Agency. The application digitalized the existing methodology, printed cards, keeping the card design while reducing the active presence of the teacher.
Students/children can work independently on an iPad, and progress step by step in their basic skills. Thanks to the progressive increase in complexity and corrective feedback, he/she trains phonemic awareness, knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, and the reading and writing of syllables and short words.
The student can revise concepts previously worked on during teacher-led lessons with the Decodi reading teaching method. The simple but attractive visuals make the application particularly suitable for children with intellectual disabilities.
The application has been developed in Flutter, a cross-platform framework.
On the technical side, the application has been developed in Flutter, a cross-platform framework developed by Google, allowing development once with deployment anywhere, such as iOS and Android devices, but also web and desktop applications.
In addition to providing a single code base for many different targets, Flutter is also very efficient for development and testing, helping to reduce time to market and easing maintenance activities.
Flutter flexibility allowed us to implement a complete custom design, based on the modern neumorphism design. Neumorphism was best suited our needs, as it mimics well the look and feel of cardboard cards and its minimalistic design was a requirement to avoid losing the student’s focus. The framework mobile performances allowed us to create complex, smooth animations to enhance students’ success.
The application is free. It is available for tablets on the Apple Store.