NI School Kids Win Top UK Tech Award with Invention to Help Fight Dyslexia

BT recognises tech excellence as founding partner of the Tech4Good Awards

Two 14-year-old inventors have been awarded for their work in creating a handheld device which provides multi-sensory learning technology for children with all forms of dyslexia.

Kiera McKillop and Sinead McKeown, St Killian’s College in Northern Ireland, have invented Dyslexic Aid, and were named winners of the BT Young Pioneer award at the annual Tech4Good Awards in London this week.

The annual awards, run by disability charity AbilityNet and supported by BT, is in its seventh year and recognises organisations and individuals across the UK who use digital technology to improve lives. The Dyslexic Aid allows users to see, hear, write and say letters to aid learning. The prototype was built using a Raspberry Pi Computer and a Sense Hat add-on following engagement with the University of Ulster and the British Dyslexia Association.

Kiera said: “We actually can’t believe that we have won this award. We have worked really hard on Dyslexic Aid and winning the BT Young Pioneer Award is just the best feeling. This is just the start for us and we are going to keep on inventing and inspiring others.”

Ian Caveney, Senior Consultant in Sustainable Business at BT, said:

What impressed us about Dyslexic Aid is how it has brought technology to help support those with an existing difficulty in a new and innovative way. At the same time, the work of Kiera and Sinead should inspire all young people, and those with dyslexia in particular. It truly shows what you can do with simple, but powerful technology.

We hope the recognition from this award will help them go on to take the Dyslexic Aid from prototype to marketable reality.

The Co. Antrim students also participated in the 2017 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition held in Dublin in January, when their Dyslexic Aid project was successfully shortlisted for the prestigious event. The pupil’s teacher, Sean Connolly from St Killian’s College in Antrim was also recognised at this year’s event picking up the ‘Analog Educator of Excellence’ award.

BT is currently encouraging Northern Ireland schools to enter the 2018 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place from the 10th-13th January 2018 and more information is available at www.btyoungscientist.com