Language-Free Pedagogical Program Magrid Wins The WSA Award

University of Luxembourg Incubator-based startup MaGrid won the WSA award in Learning & Education category. A great first and international recognition for this Luxembourg startup led by Tahereh Pazouki.

What is Magrid about?

Magrid is a language-free pedagogical program designed for school-setting with heterogeneous student populations to help teachers and students in the process of teaching and learning math accordingly. A new paper by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) reports that 40% of the global population does not access education in a language they understand. The policy paper, ‘If you don’t understand, how can you learn?’ These students are at risk of obtaining poor education and lagging behind their native peers. The language-free property of Magrid is an innovative aspect that may reduce the barrier of language from math education for second language learners encountered in multilingual school settings. Given that Magrid is free of any language requirements such as text or voice-over, thus can be easily used by all students including the typically unserved population of second language learners, hearing-impaired students, and language disorders.

How did you come up with the idea?

Magrid is the result of my PhD. study at the University of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) with the support of the National Research Fund (FNR). The initial idea was to do research around the development of numerical abilities in young students to find a solution for training these abilities in second-language learners who are not familiar with the language of instruction. In Luxembourg, in cycle 1 (students who just start schooling), over 60% of students are not familiar with the language of instruction which is Luxembourgish. Second-language learners are at a risk of obtaining a poor mathematical foundation and lagging behind their native peers already in pre-school level. Magrid was developed with the idea to close the performance gap between native and non-native speakers and provide all students with equal access to high-quality math education.

“The field of educational technology goes beyond improving teaching or learning in a classroom or a domain. It involves solving a range of educational problems…”

Who can use your solution?

All the students including the typically unserved population of children:
• With migratory background (second-language learners)
• With language problems (dyslexia, language disorders)
• With hearing difficulties
• With fine motor and graphomotor difficulties (dyspraxia)
• With math learning difficulties (suspected dyscalculia)

You won the WSA in Learning & Education category. What does it mean to you?

Winning the WSA award shows me the importance of the learning and education subject and the unmet need for developing solutions explicitly for students with special needs. It further motivates me in taking steps towards in creating a better and more sustainable future for all.

In your opinion, will education become 100% digital?

The education may not become 100% digital. However, I strongly believe that one form of education could not work for all students. The field of educational technology goes beyond improving teaching or learning in a classroom or a domain. It involves solving a range of educational problems, such as addressing the problems of special students, handling the problems that come with diversity in education (e.g., age, gender, language, region, background), and tackling the difficulties encountered with learning and assessments.

This article was first published in Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read our full Digital Entrepreneurship edition.

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