Microsoft partners with CHOICE to create Accent, a digital literacy program running on Edge

Laurent Giret

Microsoft Edge, the new web browser that ships with all Windows 10 PCs, is clearly much better than its predecessor, the often criticized Internet Explorer. However, after nearly two years in the market Edge still remains a young browser which has yet to be massively embraced by Windows 10 users: last week, Microsoft exec Joe Belfiore acknowledged that “in the browser scheme of things, we have room to grow.”

If improving Edge is certainly a big focus for Microsoft right now, the company also wants you to know that its new browser is already a great platform to build web-based tools. Indeed, the Redmond giant announced today that it has partnered with CHOICE Humanitarian to create Accent, a browser-based solution to learn to read and write Spanish. The non-profit organization is currently testing Accent with the Q’eqchi’ women of Guatemala, who can’t read and write in their own native language but want to learn Spanish to improve their economic opportunities.

The app leverages some of Microsoft Edge’s unique features that allow Q’eqchi’ women to draw on web pages and drag and drop letters objects very easily. More importantly, CHOICE Humanitarian’s Francesca Perkins describes Accent as an “open-source, scalable solution to literacy” that works both online and offline. Divya Kumar, Microsoft Edge Product Marketing shared some additional details:

Working with CHOICE, we utilized the native support for touch and inking in Microsoft Edge to build an interactive curriculum for their literacy program and helped them deploy the platform for the first time to the women in underprivileged regions in Guatemala. We worked very closely with CHOICE to create a solution that empowers their mentors to continue to expand and scale Accent with new courses, new languages and new skills without needing programming expertise. We are extremely excited to contribute to the CHOICE work to eradicate poverty through literacy worldwide.

In the future, CHOICE Humanitarian plans to use Accent in all seven countries where it operates. “We are also thrilled that other NGOs can use this tool to support their own literacy goals,” added Leah Barker, CHOICE Humanitarian CEO. Microsoft Edge may not be the most popular web browser out there, but it’s still nice to see that it can help Microsoft succeed in its goal to empower everyone to achieve more.