As an English teacher, Todd Brekhus noticed some issues with standard English curriculums. He could list a litany of intricacies that needed improvement, but one problem trumped all others: the love of reading was difficult to infuse.
This is an understandable problem given the standard dynamic of most classrooms. The typical protocol is to (1) assign a specific selection of books, (2) engage in coordinated discussions and activities regarding the assigned reading, and (3) assess students based on knowledge acquired from said books. The inherent problem with this approach is that certain children will not be drawn to the set of books assigned. This makes sense as interests are widespread. But how do you balance the aim to provide individualized content with the need to develop robust exercises to engage and assess understanding? Translation: how is it feasible for teachers to let their kids read anything they want and still teach?
In 2011, myON endeavored to answer this question. It was no small undertaking to say the least. While such a feat may have seemed impossible at the company’s inception, myON has risen to the challenge. Its quest and mission has evolved beautifully over the last 6 years, leading them to develop a robust online library of digital books and articles by partnering with over 60 publishers. The vast library of online material is not only spread across a number of interests and topics, but is bolstered by a suite specialized features meant to augment comprehension, including (1) customizable highlighting, (2) embedded dictionaries, and (3) and audio based reading capabilities. What’s special about the audio feature is that myON proactively dismissed the use of automated voice software, opting instead for a more authentic audio experience by employing professional actors to read the literature. The emblematic milestone of this company is its successful partnership with over 10,000 schools to date.
One of the most innovative and fascinating developments at myON is their newest product, myON News, which is a collection of self-created news content. Unlike most online reading programs that simply aggregate various resources, myON News is an actual content creator. The company employ writers to custom design news stories that are tied back into the resources contained in their extensive libraries. These custom written stories are perfect for classrooms because they are engineered to be fully in sync with lesson plans and activities included on the myON platform.
For schools aiming to bolster reading capabilities across a spectrum of grades and students, myON’s platform is an amazing tool worth exploring. For the full rundown of all available features and applications, check out the full podcast episode! To learn more about this trailblazing edTech company, go to http://about.myon.com/.
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