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Mobile Phones and Language Literacy in Rural Developing Regions (By Matthew Kam)

Presentation for the VII International Seminar of the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning

Literacy levels in most poor countries remain shockingly low and formal education is making little progress. MILLEE improves literacy through language learning games on cellphones – the “Personal Computers of the developing world” – which are a perfect vehicle for new kinds of out-of-school language learning. The project focuses on developing scalable, localizable design principles and tools for language learning. The challenges are (i) to integrate sound learning principles, (ii) to provide concrete design patterns that integrate entertainment and learning, and (iii) to understand cultural and learning differences in children in developing regions.

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Mobile Phones and Language Literacy in Rural Developing Regions (By Matthew Kam)

  1. 1. Mobile Phones and Language Literacy in Rural Developing Regions Matthew Kam Assistant Professor Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute October 7, 2010 VII International Seminar of the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning
  2. 2. Multidisciplinary Collaborators at CMU <ul><li>Local project manager – Indrani Vedula </li></ul><ul><li>School of Design – Jodi Forlizzi, Stephanie Meier </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual design </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Entertainment Technology Center – Hanika Khakhanis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Videogame design </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Language Technologies Institute – Maxine Eskenazi </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation of speech technologies for language learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dept. of Modern Languages – Pooja Reddy, Sue-mei Wu </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second Language Acquisition and Reading Science </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. International Collaborators Sesame Workshop Chinese Academy of Sciences ASSET India Foundation Byrraju Foundation Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of ICT IIIT Hyderabad Naandi Foundation Suraksha University of Nairobi <ul><li>Current and previous funders: </li></ul><ul><li>MacArthur Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft </li></ul><ul><li>National Science Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Nokia </li></ul><ul><li>Qualcomm </li></ul><ul><li>Verizon </li></ul>
  4. 4. Building Local Capacity [in ACM interactions 2008] <ul><li>Worked with 20+ undergrad researchers from India </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alumni are pursuing graduate school in North America </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Winter school with 130 undergrads across India, hosted by IIIT Hyderabad (December 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Develop local pool of talented manpower </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human-computer interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low-end cellphones programming </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Needs and Problem Statement <ul><li>Fluency in “power language” e.g. English </li></ul><ul><li>Public schools in developing regions (e.g. India) are not succeeding </li></ul><ul><li>101 million primary school-age children do not attend school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>36 million in South-Asia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>39 million in Sub-Saharan Africa </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Cellphones can make education more accessible through out-of-school environments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User can learn anytime, anywhere without disrupting work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game-like exercises for enjoyable learning experience </li></ul>Solution Overview
  7. 7. Project Timeline <ul><li>10 rounds of fieldwork, >12 months total in India </li></ul><ul><li>Human-centered design process with 100 children </li></ul>2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Needs assessment (village + slums) ‏ Exploratory study (slums) ‏ Exploratory study (village) ‏ Feasibility study (slums) ‏ Feasibility study (village) ‏ More iterations + testing Classroom study 2009 Out-of-school study Controlled study 2010
  8. 8. Selected Media Appearances <ul><li>Cell Phone: The Ring Heard Around the World. In Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television documentary , aired on April 3 and June 5, 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>India’s Cell Phone Tutors. In ABC News , aired on June 16, 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Angrezi, the Phoney Way. In Times of India , December 5, 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>In Rural India, Learning English via Cellphone. In The Chronicle of Higher Education , October 21, 2009. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Classroom Study [in IEEE/ACM ICTD 2009] <ul><li>Deployment throughout Spring 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three times per week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After-school program at private village school </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quantitative study with 27 participants (grades 2-9) </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated significant post-test improvements on spelling skills ( p = 0.007, σ = 3.3) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning gains correlated with grade levels ( r = 0.61) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Out-of-School Pilot Study [in ACM CHI 2010 – Best Paper Honorable Mention] <ul><li>First study on rural children’s voluntary use of cellphones in their daily lives over extended time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for mobile learning in everyday rural settings? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social contexts behind such naturalistic settings, including adoption challenges? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Study Context <ul><li>Mango growing district in rural India </li></ul><ul><li>Economic baseline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$500 to $2,500 annual household income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upper-caste households own land on which lower-castes work as laborers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All 20 households we visited owned at least one cellphone </li></ul></ul>Source: NCAER, 2001
  12. 12. Participants <ul><li>26-week pilot with 18 children </li></ul><ul><ul><li>9 boys, 9 girls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10 to 14 years old (mean = 12 years) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Loaned out cellphones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 out of 18 participating households had at least 1 cellphone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7 out of 18 households had programmable cellphones </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Scenarios for Mobile Learning <ul><li>Participant-observations with 20 rural households </li></ul><ul><li>Identified 9 scenarios by different times of day </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructed after analyzing “day in the life” accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scenarios specific to different caste and gender </li></ul>5:30am 7am 2pm 5pm 7:30pm 9pm Morning Afternoon Evening Night Early Morning
  14. 14. Scenarios: Learning in the Fields <ul><li>An upper-caste boy learns from a cellphone-based game when “working” in the fields </li></ul>5:30am 7am 2pm 5pm 7:30pm 9pm Morning Afternoon Evening Night Early Morning With cellphone
  15. 15. Scenarios: Learning at Home <ul><li>Male and female siblings learn from cellphones games at home between dinner and bed-time </li></ul>5:30am 7am 2pm 5pm 7:30pm 9pm Morning Afternoon Evening Night Early Morning With cellphone
  16. 16. <ul><li>Curriculum developed by local teacher </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted 180 word families for 16 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vocabulary teaching and testing </li></ul>Curriculum Design Explanation of “Father” in Hindi
  17. 17. Task-Based Language Teaching <ul><li>Instructional sequence around tasks (Cameron 2001, Nunan 2004, Prabhu 1987) ‏ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Schema-building exercises that introduce vocabulary, linguistic forms and context for the task </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Communicative exercises to provide controlled practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Listening to how above linguistic units are used in authentic settings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4. Language development exercises for above units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5. Freer practice in groups, e.g. information gap activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6. Pedagogic task proper </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Best Practices in 2 nd Language Teaching [in ACM CHI 2007] <ul><li>Avoid reinventing the wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewed sample of >35 applications </li></ul><ul><li>Sample has a balance b/w listening, reading, speaking and writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Distilled >50 design patterns (Alexander 1977) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Traditional Village Games [in ACM CHI 2009 – Best Paper Honorable Mention] <ul><li>How are traditional Indian village games different from existing Western videogames? </li></ul><ul><li>Compared game elements against 296 game design patterns documented in Bjork and Holopainen 2005 </li></ul>
  20. 20. Analysis: Differences in Games <ul><li>Identified 37 non-trivial differences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty based on sub-goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill acquisition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Score keeping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rituals associated with space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inter-team interactions </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Prototypes: Videogame Design <ul><li>Designed videogames based on traditional village games (Kam et al. 2009) </li></ul>Playground Digital Version
  22. 22. Findings: Electricity Access <ul><ul><li>Recharged cellphones from self-owned generators (2 households) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Power outlets in homes (16 out of 18 children) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But irregular electricity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Despite irregular electricity, did not leave phones plugged into wall outlets due to security concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recharged cellphones only when electricity was present and participant was home </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. More Social Rituals Around Electricity <ul><li>Highly fluctuating voltages (4 households) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Damage to battery chargers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recharged cellphones from neighbors who had generators or stable power outlets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hesitant to take full advantage of neighbors’ generosity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recharged cellphones at workplaces </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Excessive use of multimedia-rich applications drained batteries quicker </li></ul>
  24. 24. Duration of Mobile Learning <ul><li>Despite electricity challenges, participants were able to keep cellphones charged for mobile learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 hours, 23 min per week (on average) </li></ul></ul>Electricity generator at home Reliable power outlets at home Unreliable power outlets at home
  25. 25. Learning Benefits <ul><li>Average participant covered 46 new words over 16 weeks of unsupervised usage of cellphones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At this rate, each participant is expected to learn 150 new words in a calendar year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benchmark is 500 words, given good learning conditions </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Locations of Cellphone Use <ul><li>Unexpectedly, most learning via cellphones occurred at home (vs. outdoors) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Home is cooler than outdoors due to summer heat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants self-reported taking cellphones outdoor prior to summer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concern about loss of phone </li></ul></ul>* % of total time spent at a particular location
  27. 27. Community of Gamers <ul><li>Strengthened existing ties (13 pair-wise relationships) </li></ul><ul><li>Games facilitated new ties across gender, caste and village boundaries (10 pair-wise relationships) </li></ul><ul><li>New social relationships transferred to real-world, non-gaming settings </li></ul>
  28. 28. Other Challenges <ul><li>6 swollen batteries </li></ul><ul><li>Why did this happen? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Other Challenges – Gender Equity <ul><li>6 swollen batteries </li></ul><ul><li>Why did this happen? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extreme heat from kitchen stoves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The 6 participants (5 of them were girls) tried to hide phones from brothers </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Scaling Up in India and Beyond <ul><li>Controlled experiment with 800 low-income children in 40 locations (w/ Nokia grant + 450 cellphones donation) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official 5th-grade English curriculum in India </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benchmark against standardized English test in India </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Partnership development with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cellphone manufacturers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless carriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third-party content developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education service providers </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Bridge Curriculum <ul><li>Prerequisites for advanced literacy skills, based on Chall’s stages of reading development (1983): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phonological + orthographic awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oral vocabulary knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phonetic decoding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Word identification (including fluency) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lexical inferencing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Morphological awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sentence-level reading comprehension </li></ul></ul>100 lesson plans for entire academic year
  32. 32. Adoption Ecology <ul><li>“ One size fits all” approach does not scale </li></ul>
  33. 33. PACE Framework [in ACM CHI 2007] <ul><li>Four components of PACE framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>P attern – best practices for learning and engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A ctivity – design of learner interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C urriculum – targeted syllabus + audio-visual content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E xercise – basic unit realizing Activity + Curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Facilitates division of labor and local adaptation </li></ul>
  34. 34. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Carnegie Mellon University (USA) – Rafae Aziz, Ryan Baker, Rachita Chandra, Manoj Dayaram, Maxine Eskenazi, Ayan Kishore, Alex Kowalski, Anuj Kumar, Derek Lomas, Gino Mancuso, Andrew Ngan, Pooja Reddy, Daniel Rhim, Geeta Shroff, Kyle Sondrock, Raja Sooriamurthi, Le Wei, Sue-mei Wu </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) – Lv Fei, Tian Feng , Ben Rachbach </li></ul><ul><li>DAIICT, IIT, IIIT, NSIT (India) – Aishvarya Agarwal, Lalit Agarwal, Shilpan Bhagat, Malav Bhavsar, Anshul Chaurasia, Akash Gangil, Denny George, Aakriti Gupta, Chetan Gupta, Mayank Gupta, Amol Jain, Ashwin Jain, Rachit Jain, Siddharth Kothari, Kaustav Kundu, Siddhartha Lal, Manish Lohani, Mohit Maheshwari, Nikhil Marathe, Akhil Mathur, Kishan Patel, Vipul Raheja, Dhruv Shah, Yash Soni, Surendra Survi, Satyajit Swain, Vivek Tripathi, Pallav Vyas </li></ul><ul><li>University of Berkeley (USA) – Ruth Alexander, Lauren Bailey, Eric Brewer, John Canny, Deepti Chittamuru, Jane Chiu, Varun Devanathan, Asya Grigorieva, Dimas Guardado, Christopher Hom, Glynda Hull, Anjali Koppal, Maksim Lirov, Aaron McKee, Gary Miguel, David Nguyen, Anand Raghavan, Divya Ramachandran, Priyanka Reddy, Vijay Rudraraju, Monish Subherwal, Simon Tan, Anuj Tewari, Jingtao Wang </li></ul><ul><li>University of Nairobi (Kenya) – Tonny Omwansa </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot team (India) – Mehnaaz Abidi, Shabnam Aggarwal, Aman Anand, Siddharth Bhagwani, Jatin Chaudhary, Sonal Gupta, Shirley Jain, Alok Prakash, Neelima Purwar, Rolly Seth, Gautam Singh, Kartikey Singh, Kavish Sinha, Indrani Vedula </li></ul>
  35. 35. Contact Info <ul><li>Matthew Kam </li></ul><ul><li>Assistant Professor </li></ul><ul><li>Carnegie Mellon University </li></ul><ul><li>Human-Computer Interaction Institute </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Homepage: </li></ul>
  36. 36. Case for E-Learning Games <ul><li>Can incorporate good learning principles (Gee 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated learning benefits with urban slums children (Banerjee et al. 2005) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 years, >10, 000 children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Math learning computer games twice per week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant gains on math test scores </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… and rural children (Kam et al. 2009, Azim Premji Foundation 2004) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant improvements on spelling skills </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Everyday Use of Multimedia <ul><li>Listened to music clips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bought at point-of-sales outlets in town </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared with friends via Bluetooth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Took videos and photographs of important events </li></ul>
  38. 38. Opportunities: Girl Empowerment <ul><li>Promote lifelong learning (e.g. employability skills) after child marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance women empowerment workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Educate mothers not to be “stopping channels” </li></ul>
  39. 39. Opportunities: Bridge Programs <ul><li>Increase reach of learning for nomadic communities, out-of-school children, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Account for community norms </li></ul><ul><li>Address cognitive effects of schooling (and literacy) </li></ul>
  40. 40. Opportunities: Micro Data Collection <ul><li>Accountability monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptive learning and artificial intelligence tutors </li></ul><ul><li>Improve learning theories (e.g. individual differences) </li></ul>