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Slipped onto a pen, a tiny gadget uses speech-to-text to help people learn to write

Using simple technology to tackle a complex issue, Media.Monks and the World Literacy Foundation have unveiled the Literacy Pen, a thumb-sized device that provides a new pathway into reading and writing. The gadget slips onto any regular-sized pen or pencil and features a small digital screen. After speaking a word into a built-in microphone, users will see it appear in caps, allowing them to copy it onto paper letter by letter.

The Literacy Pen is an intuitive on-ramp to literacy. It facilitates independent, self-guided learning by allowing users to copy words with personal meaning and context. While learning to write is a lengthy process, speech-to-text offers the direct benefit of being able to produce a text needed, for example, to promote a business or leave a message. For those hesitant to admit their illiteracy due to stigma, the pen provides a discreet tool for practicing writing skills privately and at their own pace.

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Straightforward by design, the Literacy Pen represents a novel and potentially powerful weapon against illiteracy, which impacts 773 million adults, according to UNESCO. The tool is portable and inexpensive to manufacture, and its one-button speech-to-text function is easy for anyone to understand. Media.Monks and the World Literacy Foundation aim to produce 2,000 units for 50 schools by 2025. One to partner with in your part of the world?