Mada Innovation Program Presents: TextHelp Read&Write Arabic
Research article Open access | Available online on: 05 September, 2019 | Last update: 05 September, 2019
As part of its efforts to expand the range of Arabic Assistive Technology (AT) to support the education sector in Qatar and the Arab Region, Assistive Technology Center “Mada” has actively focused on bringing new Arabic AT to the market. Designed and tested alongside with Mada’s expertise through the Mada Innovation Program, Read&Write Arabic is a dedicated Arabic language assistive technology that offers all learners the opportunity to reach their full reading and writing potential. TextHelp Read&Write Arabic was showcased in the Innovation Zone and was further featured through a dedicated session in the Innovation Theater during the GREAT Conference 2018.
What is Read&Write?
Already available in English and other various languages, Read&Write is an innovative and intuitive software toolbar that integrates seamlessly across multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac, Chromebook and iPad. It is widely used around the world within classrooms and relevant teaching environments. Developed to help everyone understand and be understood, it provides a wealth of accessible and easy-to-use tools that help improve literacy and fluency at every level and for every student.
Traditionally viewed as a tool for students with specific individual learning needs, Read&Write now offers a comprehensive set of tools for all learners and all learning styles – from those who perhaps struggle with reading and writing to gifted students that require a challenge in the classroom. Now with dedicated Arabic language support, Read&Write can truly enable all Arabic learners in Qatar and the Arab Region to achieve their full potential.
Offering useful features such as text to speech, text and picture dictionaries, study tools and more, Read&Write has been built with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in mind, to aid in each step of the learning process. Built on a solid understanding of how to improve literacy, fluency and understanding, Read&Write has proven its impact in schools, colleges and universities the world over.
Read&Write Arabic includes the following core features that can be effectively used by schools to improve study and research skills:
Rigorously tested in partnership with MADA, Read&Write’s Arabic natural-sounding voice capabilities allow words and sentences – both online and in documents – to be read aloud to improve student reading, comprehension and engagement. This fosters confidence in independent study and gives learners a flexible tool to slow down, speed up or select exactly what they need to better understand any given subject.
Text & Picture Dictionaries
With accurate and culturally appropriate text and picture dictionaries included within Read&Write, students have a quick and versatile way of accessing definitions both visually and literally. If a learner is unsure of a word’s meaning or how that word translates into a different language or cultural context, Read&Write offers a powerful solution that’s both accessible and extensive.
Highlighting & Note-taking
A simple but effective independent study feature, the built-in highlighter and note-taking tools allow students to draw out key passages and excerpts from web pages and documents with a simple click of a mouse. They can then turn these into one-page revision guides, encouraging revision and progression. The simple Voicenote function helps students give and receive feedback and model pronunciation through the user-friendly Read&Write toolbar.
Complementing the powerful features mentioned above is the audio maker tool, which gives students the ability to turn words on the screen, homework assignments or study notes into an audio file to listen to on the go. With assistance, this is especially useful for users who have vision impairments.
The Read&Write translator tool provides single word and paragraph translations to allow students whose native language is Arabic to get quick translations to English right when they need it. It’s a key support tool to build and enhance vocabulary – essential to the development of core language skills and knowledge.
Read&Write has been shown to increase fundamental learning skills like comprehension, vocabulary and correct word sequences – all essential steps to increasing literacy and fluency levels. Read&Write Arabic is available with English language support by default. This will allow its users to acquire literacy and fluency in both languages, and consequently, serve the language needs of the diverse bilingual community in the Arab region.
Building vocabulary alongside oral and written fluency is the key to achieving successful learning outcomes. Read&Write’s flexible features help students in the language they need it in. Students in bilingual settings are often ‘translanguaging’ – moving between both languages as they search out the words they need or want to understand. Having a set of tools always available in multiple languages is crucial to support their learning needs. The availability of Read&Write Arabic will enhance the quality of classroom support for students with learning difficulties by offering a wide range of features in bilingual format. Learning difficulties facing PWDs and others prevent them from achieving successful education. Consequently, solutions like Read&Write Arabic will serve as an essential foundation to support the needs of such students.