WGI and GE promote literacy through launch of new education platform

September 08, 2020 | 16:20
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As a way to celebrate the International Literacy Day 2020 on September 8, WGI Worldwide Company, a leading global education company headquartered in New York City, and US industrial conglomerate GE today announced the launch of Lyra, a new app-based education platform that uses innovative advanced speech recognition and touch screen analysis to teach reading and writing.
wgi and ge promote literacy through launch of new education platform
The new platform Lyra aims to make literacy lessons more accessible for both adults and children

The app, co-developed by WGI and GE, represents the start of WGI’s transition to a digital provider of literacy learning, and makes learning literacy skills more accessible for both adults and children.

The app’s 26 modules are based on the evidence-based synthetic phonics approach to literacy and build on the foundation of WGI’s six years of in-person education.

“We realised that while there will never be enough teachers, there are enough mobile devices, and they are already in the hands of people who can benefit from literacy training," said Chance Wilson, WGI chairman, CEO and founder. “We worked quickly to bring on new teachers and set up programmes in new communities, we wanted to do more given the urgent need.”

Wilson, who set up WGI six years ago as a fourteen-year-old middle school student, is passionate about bringing literacy to as many people as possible. At first, he set up in-person classes in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Once established there, he set about developing plans for national and global impact, which eventually saw a partnership with GE blossom through GE’s global network of volunteers and software developers.

WGI and GE are poised to continue their partnership by working on developing new versions of the app to provide literacy lessons in other languages.

“Looking at the impact this app has the potential to make around the world, GE is fully supportive of this effort. With so many people isolated and in need of developing new skills, Lyra can help meet the critical demand in underserved communities that have little or no access to literacy resources, a situation made even direr in the wake of COVID-19,” said Nabil Habayeb, president and CEO of GE Global Growth Organization, championing the partnership.

Globally, more than 700 million people cannot read or write. This limits their ability to gain employment, improve career prospects, or pursue higher education. It can also have a far-reaching impact on mental health. Lyra now offers a solution for all of them.

The Lyra app features an engaging space-themed interface and user experience. The theme reflects the name of the app – Lyra, which is the brightest constellation in the night sky. The app teaches letters and words by presenting them on the screen, pronouncing them, and then inviting users to say the letters and words out loud.

Powerful voice recognition technology then analyses the response. The app also uses the phone’s touch screen to prompt learners to write the letters or words they are studying, then analyses the results to tell them whether or not the writing is correct.

WGI and GE are poised to continue their partnership by working on developing new versions of the app to provide literacy lessons in other languages. Currently, the app provides more than two years’ worth of English language literacy lessons and is designed for those who speak English, whether as a first language or as a foreign language, but cannot read or write it. It is available for download now on the Apple and Android app stores as Lyra by WGI.

By Anh Duc

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