Stage 4: Transition to Scale
SIL LEAD first introduced Bloom in 2012 in USAID's education project in 12 Ugandan languages. Bloom was the winner of the All Children Reading Enabling Writer competition in 2016. Many organizations and governments are starting to use Bloom.
Registered in United States as Non-Profitin United States as Non-Profit
Literacy, Basic Education, Digital Development and 3 MoreSEE ALL
Literacy, Basic Education, Digital Development, Inclusive Education, Crowdsourcing and Open Source and InclusionSEE LESS
Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia and 7 MoreSEE ALL
Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal, Indonesia, Haiti and GuatemalaSEE LESS
Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date
The lack of education in local languages and the dearth of reading materials in those languages is one of education’s largest challenges. 40% of young learners cannot access education in a language they understand and 140 million children do not speak the language of instruction in their school. Books in children’s first languages are not available in many countries. Without reading materials in their first languages, it will be much harder or impossible for these children to learn to read.
Bloom is a free software package that makes it easy for speakers of any language to create books, or to translate existing books into their language. Rather than having to depend on technicians from outside their community or undergo extensive training, speakers of local languages can quickly learn to use Bloom to create literature that they want their children to read. Bloom is the only tool available for creating pedagogically and linguistically-correct decodable and leveled reading materials.
Bloom’s primary direct beneficiaries are the children and illiterate adults who get access to learning and reading materials in a language they understand well. The community members who engage in materials development benefit as well, as they learn how to provide equitable education solutions to their communities and country. Indirectly, everyone benefits from higher literacy rates in all sectors of a society.
Mission and Vision
The vision for Bloom is that every child will have sufficient appropriate reading materials in their own languages to open up the joy and power of reading. The mission is to dramatically lower the technology bar so that many more people can get involved in developing a large number of local language books. Simplicity for the user is combined with power for creating books in any language that are linguistically and pedagogically correct and can also serve those with print disabilities.
With its unique language-specific capabilities, Bloom is the only tool available for creating pedagogically and linguistically-correct decodable and leveled reading materials. Once the applicable scope and sequence and definition of levels have been entered, Bloom gives the author warnings when he/she uses an out-of-scope letter or goes beyond any leveling criterion. Bloom also can give in-scope word suggestions. Speakers of local languages with little to no computer literacy can use Bloom to create literature in their own languages that they want their children to read. They can use Bloom templates or shell books posted online on the Bloom Library. Bloom facilitates the creation of books in a single language or in two or three languages, and exports titles as PDFs, ePUBs, or for use with the free Android Bloom Reader App.
Bloom recently added tools for creating books for the visually impaired and Deaf, making it much easier to create inclusive materials in any language.
Bloom is an offline tool, thus making a live Internet connection unnecessary. If an Internet connection is available, Bloom works together with its Book Library at bloomlibrary.com/browse. Users can upload their books to the Library for others to access and/or download books to adapt into their own language.
There are extensive Bloom training materials, including end user and Training of Trainers curricula and a process for certifying Bloom trainers. The training videos have subtitles in eight languages.
Bloom is free, supports any language, allows the creation of new books or translation of existing ones, can be configured to create linguistically and pedagogically appropriate books, and enables the creation of inclusive literature for the Deaf and visually impaired. No other software has this combination of capabilities.
Bloom and the training videos are free. The tool is easy to use by people with limited experience with technology. It supports any of the world’s 7,000+ languages, in any script. 31 training videos have optional subtitles in eight languages.
Bloom supports authoring of new books, translating existing books, and creating new versions of more than 3,000 titles in 150+ languages available on the free online Bloom library.
Bloom is the only program with tools for creating decodable and leveled books tailored to specific languages. Tools for adding audio and video make Bloom the only all-in-one tool to create born-accessible books for visually impaired and Deaf readers.
Planned Goals and Milestones
Further developing the Bloom Enterprise service will provide organizations with additional tools and services and contribute to financial sustainability. Additional work on the accessible book and sign language tools will make it easier to create “born-accessible” literature. A complete rewrite of the website will allow users to download books in the language and format of their choice and read any book online. Changes to the underlying architecture of the program will make it cross-platform.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||2|
|New Implemented Countries||Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, Myanmar|
|Recruit||20 certified trainers; 5 software developers; 5 service staff|
|New Feature||Upgrade accessible book and sign language tools; improve website functions and architecture to make it cross-platform |
The Team Behind the Innovation
The Bloom software team is composed of seven people who maintain and develop the software and website. There are 20 Certified Bloom Trainers with that number increasing steadily. Two people manage and provide services to clients.
The technical lead is John Hatton, a senior software developer with 24 years of experience in software engineering. The administrative lead is Paul Frank, with a PhD in linguistics and 36 years in applied linguistics research and management of development programs.