Mencap launches groundbreaking global initiative to improve spelling and literacy skills
Monday 30 April 2012
Mencap, the UK's largest charity supporting people with a learning disability, today announced the world's first ever inclusive English language digital Spellathon Championships. Devised and developed by Digital Giving Ltd, the new online competition will take place between Monday 21 and Sunday 27 May 2012 and is part of the new format for Spellathon, which has embraced the digital world.
For nearly 20 years, Mencap's Spellathon programme has been aiming to improve spelling standards across the UK while raising money to help and support people with a learning disability.
Spellathon sees entrants raise money for Mencap by securing sponsorship funds to spell a pledged target number of words. This year's Spellathon is the first where people have been able to take part online via Spellathon.net<http://www.spellathon.net/whiteboard/> or by downloading the app through the Apple, Android and Blackberry app stores. Logging on to the website, visitors are greeted by 'The Professor', a 3D bee voiced by Stephen Fry. He and his Spelling Bee companions guide users through a series of interactive spelling games, which can be played on a classroom whiteboard<http://www.spellathon.net/whiteboard/>, a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Each is designed to enhance a player's spelling and literacy skills to the next level.
This year, the inaugural Spellathon Championships will give participants the chance to test themselves against the rest of the world. Between Monday 21 and Sunday 27 May 2012, participants will have one opportunity to log into their online "hive" and record the longest run of correctly spelt words in 15 minutes. Scores will be recorded on a global leaderboard, with winners from each category announced in an online award ceremony on Friday 15 June.
Spellathon Championship entrants also get the chance to test themselves against the spelling skills of Stephen Fry in the Reverse Spellathon Challenge, which takes place online on Thursday 14 June. To qualify, players must have spelt 25 words correctly in reverse while playing Spellathon games and have raised £15 for Mencap on or before the end of the Spellathon competition on Sunday 27 May 2012. Players can also qualify to compete in the challenge after this deadline if they raise a minimum of £30 before the final closing date for entry - Sunday 10 June 2012. Winners will also be announced in the online award ceremony on Friday 15 June.
Mark Goldring, chief executive, Mencap, said:
"Spellathon makes spelling fun and visual, not just for teachers and their children, but also for adults who are looking to improve their spelling and literacy skills in a comfortable and friendly environment. In addition to this being the world's first online Spellathon English language spelling competition, participating schools, colleges and universities can also benefit by receiving 25% of the money raised by their students."
Stephen Fry, who voices 3D bee character The Professor, added:
"This is just about the best integration of imagination, education, technology inclusiveness and fun that I've ever encountered."
Registration for the competition is now open for all schools, colleges, universities and individuals of all ages. To receive a personal invitation from Stephen Fry and a Free Digital Schools Pack that will contain the interactive whiteboard game, assembly video, and everything else needed to take part, visit Spellathon.net<http://www.spellathon.net/>.
Spellathon.net<http://www.spellathon.net/> provides a free resource for teachers and their students to practice English spelling in the classroom and at home in a fun and engaging way.
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Notes to editor
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap fights on their behalf, and on behalf of their carers and families, to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also the largest service provider of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. See www.mencap.org.uk<http://www.mencap.org.uk> for more information.
About learning disability
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong and affects someone's intellectual and social development. It used to be called mental handicap but this term is outdated and offensive. Learning disability is NOT a mental illness. The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.
About Digital Giving Ltd
Digital Giving Ltd is a joint venture partnership between Grant Morgan and Jamie Goldblatt.
In June 2010, Grant Morgan (CEO of cause-related marketing agency Louis Kennedy), joined forces with mobile and digital media innovator Jamie Goldblatt to launch Digital Giving Ltd. Goldblatt, a market-leader in his field creating mobile content and campaigns for some of the world's biggest brands and agencies, is now working in partnership with Grant Morgan and the leading cause-related marketing agency Louis Kennedy (over £130 million raised for charities in the last 13 years), to originate and deliver global fundraising and mass awareness cause-related entertainment concepts centred around creative and engaging digital content.
Promethean's aim is to unlock the potential of human achievement in education and training at all ages around the world. It does so by creating, developing, supplying and supporting leading-edge, interactive learning technology and by encouraging the growth of the world's largest online teacher community in this field. In these ways, Promethean is helping bring to life the promise of 21st century learning, improving engagement and results for learners and teachers alike. www.prometheanworld.com<http://www.prometheanworld.com>
We help educators achieve better results with technology products that support student-centred learning. More than 1.6 million SMART Board interactive whiteboards are used by over 40 million people in classrooms and offices around the world. SMART products can be found in every Canadian province, every US state, every local authority in the UK and more than 175 countries worldwide. www.smarttech.com<http://www.smarttech.com>