Supporting Learning at Home and in School

In this term’s newsletter we share how our team have all been finding different ways to continue our pilot studies despite the on-going disruptions in schools across Europe. We describe some exciting new developments in how our partner teachers will be able to interact with the Navigo game data. We also discuss some of our very latest research findings around the Amigo reader. Read on to find out more…

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Finding creative ways to continue our pilots

Unfortunately, schools have continued to experience disruptions throughout the last term with lockdowns and other restrictions imposed in many countries. However, our project partners have been working hard to find new and creative ways to continue the pilot studies.

In Germany, schools have been reopened since mid-March, but due to the current circumstances it has not been possible for us to work on the games with the children in the local schools again. Instead we have set up a monthly workshop for interested teachers, where we focus on bringing our games back into the picture through sessions dedicated to learning to read and teaching using digital technologies.


In Greece, schools opened on the 14th of January and will be closed from the 15th of March until further notice. So, it has also been a challenging term. Some schools have sent the tablets home with students and we have provided help to teachers or parents when needed to support the students’ remote learning process. In parallel, the Doukas School team offers continuous support to teachers on how to optimally and effectively utilise the iRead apps as part of their teaching.

In Spain, the implementation of the iRead apps has worked well even under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Several schools have used the apps regularly in English and Spanish, and we have followed up and supported schools via video conferencing. Schools remained mostly open throughout the academic year, and so we could help them out with the training of new teachers by collaborating with existing teachers, which has been been crucial to our continuation.


In Sweden, while primary schools have remained open, the access has been restricted to students and teachers only, making it difficult for us to visit. However, we have recruited some new schools, and we have been given special permits to visit in the upstart phase as long as we wear masks and protective visors. It has been really nice to visit schools again and experience the enthusiasm of both students and teachers as they enter the Navigo realm.

In the UK, it has been a challenging term, with schools closed to most pupils for two months. However, we have been working closely with some of our schools to enable the use of Navigo at home by giving regular updates to the teachers about usage as well as providing support to the parents for any technical issues. Now schools have reopened we will be delivering refresher training to teachers to help them restart their use of the tablets in the classroom.

Enabling teachers to explore the game data

Throughout October and November 2020, partners involved in the iRead pilot studies met online to share their experiences and learn from each other’s practices.

This term, we have been working on developing a “Learning Analytics Dashboard” for teachers in classrooms using Navigo. Learning analytics are the clicks and performance data produced by students playing Navigo, which are collected and displayed visually on the interactive dashboard. These displays are intended to mirror what is going on in literacy learning in the classroom, and allow teachers to explore this data and decide (a) what areas of reading need more support overall, and (b) which children might need more support going forward.


The image above shows our first interactive dashboard prototype, created using Tableau, a data visualisation software. In this initial view, the teacher can see what reading features the classroom has been working on, how the activities were spread over the week, and what particular areas were problematic. Importantly, the colour of the data gives the teacher an idea of how well children are performing in these areas, so that judgement calls can be made about how to orchestrate classroom literacy activities going forward. Hovering over these data give more detail in a visual format, e.g. about more granular language features and/or about students’ performance in these features. Clicking on the data will filter it in all of the views, so that teachers can perform a deep exploration of their students’ literacy progress.

We hope to get teachers’ feedback on this prototype and get the dashboard into classrooms soon!

Why Children’s Responses to Coloured-Letters Really Matters?

We have recently been working on a series of blog posts to spotlight our latest project research findings. We have just published one that focuses on a well-known strategy in supporting children with dyslexia: coloured-letters. Colouring letters is a strategy often employed by specialists teachers in the classroom, to draw children’s attention to tricky vowel combinations, supporting reading accuracy and fluency.


Last month we sat down with researchers Dr Nelly Joye and Dr Emma Sumner from UCL who completed a study on coloured-letters and its impact on children’s reading with e-readers using the Amigo Reader app. The researchers wanted to know how this strategy affects children’s reading fluency and accuracy, and also, how children in general respond to coloured-letters. The findings show that while colour-coded letters didn’t have a significant impact on children’s reading accuracy or fluency overall, children had a wide range of preferences when it came to colour-coded letters. These findings are significant as they highlight the importance of listening to children’s voices and taking a personalised approach when developing supports for struggling readers. In the blog, you can read the whole research story.

In other news…

  • We have set a series of game challenges to uncover some of the hidden aspects of our Navigo game – check out #ChallengeNavigo ​on Twitter and on Facebook to get involved.
  • The British Council have written an article about the project in ELT News:iRead – Interactive and personalised ebooks for learning to read.
  • Tasos Asvestas from Doukas School presented the case of the iRead project in an online scientific conference organised by the University of East Attica entitled “Promoting struggling students inclusion through the use of ICT in education”.
  • Leona Bunting from University of Gothenburg has been interviewed for an online article  (in Swedish) about personalised learning and inclusiveness: Spel och appar för träning av engelskaläsning.
  • We have created a new bite-sized video that gives a quick overview of the teacher manual contents.
  • Our language domain model resources are now freely available to download on the European Language Grid.
  • The Doukas School team presented the project in the international conference “The educational system in Romania and abroad during the pandemic crisis” organised by the “Tudor Arghezi” High School Craiova, Romania.
  • Nancy Knorr and Kay Berkling from DHBW have published a paper as part of EUROCALL 2020: Comparing pupils and teacher’s reflections on iRead tablet-based literacy games in a German elementary school.
  • Andrea Révész from UCL will be “co-presenting” work on textual enhancement and L2 learners at the annual meeting of the American Association of Applied Linguistics this month.


Thank You!

Last but not least we would like to acknowledge the important contribution that teachers and pupils from the following schools have made to the iRead project over the last term: