Kindle Early Language Learning in Sudan Recipient of a RUSA 2023 Best Emerging Technology Application Award

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced Janet Lee (ILCE-IG member) and Tegest Hailu, M.D. are the recipients of one of two 2023 ETS Best Emerging Technology Application Awards for the Kindle Early Language Learning project for serving children in the Hasheba Refugee Camp in Sudan.  The $3,000 Best Emerging Technology Application (BETA) Award is sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp.

For applying existing technologies in novel ways that benefit the library and patrons. Kindle Early Language Learning is an innovative way of replicating the library and its resources for children living in difficult conditions in Sudan’s Hasheba Refugee Camp, helping them learn reading, writing, and languages in engaging ways. – Award Committee Statement

The Kindle Early Language Learning Project in Hasheba Refugee Camp in Sudan introduces first language resources to refugee school children in a joint library/classroom through the use of Kindle technology. The children, many of whom are orphans, fled from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, when conflict broke out in November 2020 forcing them into exile in Sudan.  As basic housing and health services were implemented in the camps, housing over 60,000 refugees, it became apparent that the children needed educational resources and a sense of normalcy that a school would provide. An agreement was made among the refugees, NGOs and the Sudanese government to share classroom space with existing Sudanese students.  Among the refugees were Ethiopian-certified teachers, taking up the charge of teaching the students.  Since resources such as books and supplies are scarce, printing costs prohibitive, and shipping expensive, the project introduced the use of specially configured Kindle devices that were loaded with storybooks and first language reading aids in the languages of Tigrinya, Amharic, and Arabic. The Kindle device is ideal because it can hold hundreds of book titles in a variety of formats, is easy to hold, emulates a print book, and can handle the script of Tigrinya, Amharic, and Arabic.  Since the storybooks are downloaded, access to the books is available offline. In a remote area of the world such as in the refugee camps in Sudan, with little access to Internet and few print resources, the Kindle Early Language Learning Project provides needed resources in an attractive and affordable way.

Janet Lee will be presenting with other awardees at the 2023 RUSA ETS Technology Showcase at the American Library Association Monday, June 26th, from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM.

The BETA selection committee was Chaired by Beth Caruso.

See announcement:

Janet Lee
Janet Lee
Tegest Hailu, M.D.
Tegest Hailu, M.D.

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