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Mobile games promoting literacy in rural India

19 November 2009

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Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies (MILLEE) project led by a UC Berkley team uses mobile phone-based games for teaching English lessons to children. In partnerships with key mobile companies, the team has developed games for improving literacy in rural India.

Millee is an inspiring project that uses mobile gaming technology to enhance access to literacy among children of school-going age in the developing world.

Image credits: Pluggd.In/ Mobile gaming for rural India

The problem statement is very simple – most of the kids in rural India do not have access to a decent level of education; to top that, most of these kids end up working in the farm during the day time (do families understand the importance of formal education?).

And of course, the English speaking teachers do not know English well enough to teach the same to kids.

Millee, i.e. Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies is a project started by Dr. Matthew Kam from UC Berkley.

The foundational games that we built have gone through numerous iterations since 2006, through formative evaluations with four communities of rural and urban slums learners in both North and South India. By field-testing with multiple communities, we observed user behaviours with the technology that generalise across settings.

Through ethnographic studies, we also studied how social factors such as gender and caste affected MILLEE gameplay in everyday rural environments.

Currently, the games work only with few phone models (Motorola Razr V3m) and the team has received 450 cellphones from Nokia in order to reach out to rural children.

We followed a human-cantered design process, in which we consulted experienced local English teachers on our instructional and game designs.

The project is far from being the ideal gaming platform for learning, it’s more about customising the educational platform to local language (and execution); and most importantly uses the ‘third screen’ to reach out to wider mass.

Source : Pluggd.In

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