Thanks to artificial intelligence, Algor Maps allows you to create concept maps, offering targeted support in the event of learning disabilities.
Almost 300,000 students in Italian schools have a diagnosis of DSA (specific learning disorders). Concept maps are very effective study tools, but they require support and skills. Algor Maps is a web application that, through artificial intelligence, supports users in creating, editing and sharing conceptual and multimedia maps starting from long texts, in a convenient digital whiteboard. The platform was developed by the Italian startup Algor Lab.
Can artificial intelligence concretely improve people’s lives, right from school age? The founders of Algor Lab they are convinced so. And they want to prove it with a platform that creates easily conceptual mapsvery valuable study tools for those with a specific learning disability (Dsa).
300,000 students in Italy have a diagnosis of DSA
What are we talking about when we talk about ASD (specific learning disabilities)? In general we mean a series of difficulties in the ability to read, write and do calculations which include, among others, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dysorthography and dyspraxia. If not diagnosed from primary school and without the right support, these disorders can compromise self-esteem and the progress of school and work.
Worldwide, some 700 million children and adults with specific learning disabilities are at risk of long-term illiteracy and social exclusion. According to the Ministry of Education, nearly 300,000 students in Italian schools have a diagnosis of DSA. From 2011 to 2019, the percentage increased fivefold, from 0.9 to 4.9 per cent.
A step forward in our country was made in 2010 with the introduction of the add n.170 which recognizes learning disabilities and regulates the use of compensatory and dispensatory tools. Students with ASD actually have a perfectly normal intelligence and, with the right support and adequate methods, can achieve the same results as their peers.
In Italy there are 300 thousand students with a diagnosis of DSA © Prostock-Studio / iStockphoto
Algor Maps, an app to create concept maps
But what are these methods? The main ones are the conceptual maps, graphic tools able to synthesize long texts representing ideas and information in the form of boxes or circles connected with arrows. They are used in the classroom both by teachers and tutors, as a teaching support tool, and by students to learn or present study topics. However, making concept maps requires commitment and support from parents and teachers; and they don’t necessarily have the time or the skills.
The assistive technological solutions available up to now in Italy are rather obsolete digital alternatives to concept-mapping on paper, which do not make the student independent. For all these reasons, after a careful market analysis it was born Algor Maps, una web application which, through artificial intelligence, supports users in creating, editing and sharing conceptual and multimedia maps starting from long texts, in a convenient digital whiteboard. Due to its strong social value, this innovative startup has entered the ecosystem of LifeGate Waydedicated to supporting and connecting sustainable startups.
An intuitive and inclusive product
Algor Maps is the first product developed by Algor Educationan inclusive and collaborative digital platform dedicated to students, in turn developed by Algor Lab Srl, startup that wants to improve people’s lives thanks to artificial intelligence.
With Algor Maps just copy and paste a text and, in a few minutes, thealgorithm owner synthesizes it, extracts the main concepts, simplifies the syntax and provides a customizable map. Alternatively, you can create concept maps from scratch by manually retrieving information from a digital book. There multimedia digital whiteboard it allows you to reorganize your work with one click through automatic layouts, move nodes and arrows, change fonts and colors, add images and multimedia resources. Pdf documents and concept maps can communicate in the same screen: this means that the student can take notes, highlight sentences and transfer text and images from their book to the map. To access the study material, simply connect to the site from any browser, without having to download any software. And you can also share it with friends, teachers and colleagues, to collaborate in real time.
With a view to inclusiveness, the app is designed to be accessible to everyone, especially people with reading or writing neurodiversity. It contains several dyslexia-friendly fonts, but the user can also use the speech synthesis to reproduce the textual content of the map with male or female fluent voices, with highlighting and in different languages and playback speed, saving the effort in reading. It can also include audio material to listen to again, or make writing easier with the spell checker.
Concept maps summarize complex texts graphically © Algor Lab
Algor Lab, a young company that has already obtained numerous awards
Algor Lab was established in July 2021 by a team of graduates with transversal skills and high-level experience in business, startup and academic research. Mauro Musarra, Giovanni Cioffi, Antonino Geraci, Fabio Frattin, Matteo Tarantino and Emanuele Gusso have heterogeneous engineering backgrounds, but they share a focus on artificial intelligence, having met during the master in Data science at the Polytechnic of Turin. They share the values of teamwork and a strong vocation for technological innovation: not surprisingly, in April 2022 all team members were selected by Forbes magazine among the 100 under 30 innovators from the world of education. In just over a year since its foundation, Algor Lab has already won prestigious awards, including the first prize for the Impact innovation category in the 2022 edition of Unicredit Start Labthe Unicredit business platform aimed at the best Italian startups and innovative SMEs.
Social impact and alternative applications
The ambition is to innovate a market, such aseducational technology, which in Italy has been standing still for years. To provide all students, and in particular those suffering from ASD, an inclusive platform to teach and learn in an effective and interactive way, where everyone can find the tools best suited to their cognitive channels.
Algor Maps is translatable and the algorithm is multilingual: for this its applications can be manifold. It is no coincidence that it has attracted the interest of various players in the world of publishing and e-learning, but also in the legal and commercial fields, which require similar solutions to extract value from large quantities of texts.
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