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Used in over half of New Zealand schools, StepsWeb is an online literacy and language programme, originally started to help struggling learners, particularly those with dyslexia.
Founder, Ros Lugg, previously a language teacher, re-trained as a dyslexia/literacy specialist as a result of her two children, David and Andrew, being diagnosed with dyslexia. “In fact, they were the rationale for starting the company in the first place,” says Ros
Now adult, Ros’s sons are the technical experts behind the company and both manage and develop the online version, StepsWeb, which is being used all over the world. Ros’s husband (also dyslexic) came onboard as business/finance manager. “Not only a dyslexia company – but also largely a dyslexic one,” says Ros.
StepsWeb is a non-age-specific programme, so can be used for adult literacy, English as a second language, vocational training and even university students, as content can easily be created or customised by users.
The company has a strong emphasis on supporting the community and donates the programme to all users in the Pacific Islands, children’s hospitals in New Zealand, various charities and some adult literacy and migrant organisations. During COVID-19 New Zealand lockdowns, the company donated over 70,000 free student logins,most of which were extensively used.
StepsWeb online, is increasingly used as a whole-school resource, enabling every student to progress at their individual level and speed. Advanced diagnostic facilities, including a Visual Recognition Speed Test identifies whether a learner is able to utilise the correct part of the brain for reading fluency. ‘’This is a genuine world-first and was developed in conjunction with the University of Auckland,’’ says Ros.
As part of their ongoing research programme, the StepsWeb team works with a network of Research Partner Schools in New Zealand and is currently developing a similar network in Australia. With much-valued support from NZTE, StepsWeb has been developing the Australian market further, particularly in Victoria and Queensland. “This has meant attending major Australian conferences, which has led to exciting new opportunities,” says Ros.
Ros has been invited to the World Literacy Summit in April 2023 at Oxford University delivering an expert session on literacy development and a presentation of their research into the Visual Recognition Speed Test.
StepsWeb is now becoming more established in Australia and is starting to work with American contacts with a view to adapting the programme for the American market.
What transformative mahi you do StepsWeb – Ka Rawe! Good luck with BETT UK and the presentation at Oxford University.
Ros presenting at EduTech Melbourne 2022 and her sons David and Andrew manning the stand.