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Hechinger Report: Future of Learning: Hyper-Orthography

The Hechinger Report, a national leader in education and ed-tech journalism, recently published a “Future of Learning” story about the “Magic Ladder”. The Magic Ladder is a radically different way of supporting beginning and struggling readers. The story is unique because rather than just describing this new techno-pedagogical approach, the technology being described is actually functional within the article itself – you can experience it as you read about it. Give it a try:

All current models of reading instruction assume that learning to read must take place within the media of two-dimensional static text. But why should the mental models of the 15th century printing press continue to constrain how we envision and design 21st century instruction? While good readers must be able to eventually read static text, nothing (except centuries of inertia) says we have to use static text to teach beginning and struggling readers.

Using today’s inexpensive digital technology we can easily add another ‘learner’s layer’ to English orthography. We can preserve the two-dimensional alphabet and spelling, and digitally embed within it a dynamically responsive layer that provides a profoundly more neurologically efficient way to learn to read or improve reading. Instead of pedagogies constrained by the limitations of ‘static orthography’, we can completely reimagine literacy learning through the lens of what ‘hyper-orthography’ makes possible.

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