Endline report - Ethiopia Assistive Technology Initiative in Early Reading Classrooms

During 2016/2017, RTI implemented an assistive technology initiative to improve reading instruction in inclusive grade two public school classrooms in 63 schools in five regions of Ethiopia. Project inputs included a smartphone with screening tools for vision and hearing impairment and explicitly accommodated reading lesson plans for reading and writing instruction in mother tongue. The intervention also included a total of 4 days of teacher training and two classroom monitoring visits per teacher. After three months of implementation, teacher attitudes and self-efficacy to inclusive education improved significantly, as did teacher adoption of foundational inclusive practices in the classroom. At the student level, students identified for a potential vision or hearing impairment in intervention classrooms demonstrated similar learning progress compared to their peers without such impairment, although the study found measurable differences in reading achievement between these groups already at baseline. In conclusion, the innovation of using pedagogical support tools on smartphones as assistive technology at the teacher level appeared to have been appropriate for the context of the participating schools in Ethiopia, as well as effective in improving inclusive reading instruction.