SiMBi computer software helps students in Uganda improve literacy

The Simbi classroom (The Walking School Bus/Blog)

Aaron Friedland is a 24-year-old from Vancouver who has come up with a new reading program. This software is called SiMBi. SiMBi increases students’ literacy by allowing them to listen to their own oral readings.

SiMBi helps students learn English in an engaging way. Students record themselves saying english phrases, words, and letters out loud. The students then read and listen to the words simultaneously. Aaron believes the software is more effective at teaching than books alone.

“What happens is students, specifically locally, but all over the world as well, are able to log in to the app and they are able to select a book or a news article or a piece of content they are interested in reading. Teachers are also able to upload content to the app. and then from there what happens is they select a book, the piece of content they want to record, and they press the record now button and they start reading out loud the text they see on the screen. When they get to the end of the page they press stop and if they like their recording they move to the next page and if they don’t like the recording they will redo the recording on that page.” – Aaron Friedland

Simbi Reading Room (Aaron Friedland/The Walking Bus)

Aaron found the idea for SiMBi when he saw the issues that Ugandan children face daily at school. The entrepreneur has personally experienced problems with literacy – he struggles with dyslexia.

Aaron received the ‘Next Einstein Award’ for the SiMBi software in 2016. He has since revamped it and is releasing the new version today.

Aaron serves as the Executive Director of the Walking Bus, a developmental aid company which aims to increase children’s literacy worldwide. They performed a trial of the SiMBi classroom in Putti, Uganda.

The Walking Bus will hold a fundraiser in Langara Park on May 28th. The 5-kilometre walk is meant to represent the miles that millions of Ugandan children have to travel to access education. Proceeds from the walk will help fund construction of schools in Mbale, Uganda this summer.

With files from Marwa Elgabry and the Walking School Bus.